This fabulous appetizer is super easy to throw together anytime, so it's perfect for last-minute entertaining. I got the idea from Muir Glen, a company responsible for some of my favorite canned tomatoes. I'm always using them in sauces and other dishes.
Muir Glen was offering these adorable crates of reserve tomatoes, and being the tomato lover I am, I ordered up two of them right away. At the time, there was a limit of two per household, but I think that has since changed to five. I may need to order some more!
The crates come with two kinds of reserve tomatoes -- Yolo Red and Brigade -- fire roasted tomatoes, and adobo seasoned fire roasted tomatoes. The Yolo Red tomatoes are super-high in lycopene and have a sweeter taste than most other diced tomato varieties. The Brigade, which I haven't tried yet, are supposed to have a nice sugar to acid balance. The other two kinds can be found at the supermarket (I think), but I've actually never bought fire roasted tomatoes. I love that they were included in the crates because now, after trying them, I'll definitely pick some up.
When it came time to plan my New Year's Eve menu, I knew I wanted to make some sort of bruschetta with my new tomatoes. I ended up choosing a tomato-artichoke one, which went over really well. I actually mixed up the bruschetta the night before so the flavors could really have a chance to meld -- and let's be honest here, so I would have less to do the night of the party! But, as I mentioned above, you could totally whip this up at the last minute too.
1 can (14.5 ounces) Muir Glen Organic fire roasted diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup drained coarsely chopped artichoke hearts (from 14-oz can), patted dry with paper towels
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
24 slices (1/2 inch thick) baguette (about 8 ounces), toasted (bake slices 4 to 5 minutes at 425 degrees)
1/2 cup crumbled or chopped feta cheese (2 ounces)
In medium bowl, mix first six ingredients together.
Spread mixture on baguette slices, and top with feta.
It's that easy!
The bruschetta holds up really well too, so if you don't need to make 24 of these, you can save the mixture and spread it on bread, crackers, or the leftover baguette slices all week long. That's what I did with my leftovers.
Remember to use good olive oil and your favorite balsamic vinegar. I recently picked up a bottle of olive oil from Central Bottle Wine, a gorgeous new wine store down the street from us. The olive oil has such a great flavor (I sampled it when I was there and couldn't leave without some), and I love that when I finish off the bottle, I can go back and refill it!
And don't leave out the feta -- it adds just the right amount of saltiness (especially if you get the kind that's packaged in brine)!
What's your favorite quick appetizer?