As the heat continues to be oppressive, I look for dishes that are easy to prepare. Where I live, tomatoes seem to reach their peak in mid-September, which is why I like to make this jam now, so I have it as an autumnal condiment in my fridge.
Similar to the classic Spanish pan con tomate, these toasts are dolloped with a rich, slightly sweet, slightly savory roasted tomato jam, rather than grated fresh tomatoes. You’ll need some good-quality, fruity extra-virgin olive oil, chewy bread, and juicy, ripe beefsteak tomatoes.
I love the rustic touch of the unpeeled tomatoes and a sweet roasted garlic blend in the jam. I used to peel and seed the tomatoes, but I have found it is not necessary, and skipping the step cuts way down on prep time.
Once you have made up the jam, you will see how seriously simple it is to put together these toasts. You can broil, toast, or grill the bread, depending upon your preference. I have also skipped this step and just sliced the bread and spooned the jam right on top. Either way, they’re a crowd-pleaser.
These toasts make a colorful, tasty appetizer or snack. The recipe serves eight, but you can make more or less, depending upon how many you need to feed.
I’ve served them as a snack in the later afternoon and as a perfect bite and opener to a barbecue. They also make a lovely lunch with a bowl of chilled soup. Serve with a well-chilled rosé.
Roasted Tomato Jam Toasts
Serves 8 as an appetizer
- 6 pounds beefsteak tomatoes (about 6 large), coarsely chopped
- 8 garlic cloves, ends removed and halved
- 2 tablespoons fruity olive oil
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- French baguette or ciabatta
- Olive oil
- Italian parsley sprigs for garnish
To make the jam: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
In a large nonaluminum baking pan, combine the tomatoes, garlic, oil, and thyme and mix until well blended.
Roast for about 2 to 2 1/2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes. The liquid will slowly evaporate, and the mixture will begin to thicken and lightly caramelize.
Remove from the oven and let cool. Add the salt and pepper and taste for seasoning. Store in an airtight container.
To make the toasts: Slice baguette into 1/4 -inch pieces or split ciabatta in half horizontally lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1 1/2-inch slices. Lay them flat on a baking sheet. Lightly sprinkle olive oil over the bread slices.
Preheat the broiler to broil. Broil the bread slices for about 3 minutes or until they are nicely browned. (You can also toast or grill the bread.)
Spoon some of the tomato jam on each slice of toasted bread, pushing it down so it infuses into the bread. Garnish with parsley sprigs. Transfer the toasts to a platter and serve.
Advanced preparation: The jam may be prepared up to one month ahead, covered in an airtight container and refrigerated.