On the Big Feast Day, aka Thanksgiving, I don’t tend to eat much of anything until, well, the Big Feast. Saving up room for all that great food is entirely worth it, and somehow it makes it all taste that much better. If you’re having guests over, though, their tastes might differ. You might want to have some small goodies to serve up while taste buds wait for the bigger flavors. You can also use them as a shield to draw people so you and your helpers can have more room in the kitchen. Wink!
This is a great appetizer not only because it tastes really good, but because it makes a lot. In fact, we had enough of the tomato jam for more bread, but we ran out of bread. If you plan on getting two loaves of baguette, do plan to make more of the goat cheese mixture. That was a little low, too, for a second baguette.
You don’t have a lot of prep work with this appetizer either, just a little easy chopping. Our jar of sun-dried tomatoes was a little over 8 ounces, which may have accounted a little for having more tomato jam than expected, but go ahead and use it all if your jar is, say, 8.5 ounces, too. No need to waste.
So the jam just goes through a few easy stages to get to a jam-like consistency. First saute the tomatoes, onion, a little sun-dried tomato oil, olive oil, onion, and garlic. Amazingly enough, this did not taste oily to me when it was done.
Next we bring it almost to a soup consistency with some chicken stock, and this will all come to a boil, get a cover and simmer for thirty or so minutes.
And this is what our tomato jam looks like after uncovering and continuing to cook down for a few minutes. Really pretty easy stuff for an appetizer that will feed a hungry Thanksgiving bunch of guests (with maybe another appetizer to supplement it of course). The great part, too, is you can continue and assemble some for your guests, or you can make this ahead of time, reheat briefly in the microwave just to get the chill off (not boil it again) and set all the pieces and parts out for guests to assemble for themselves.
The crostini is made simply by slicing your baguette, brushing the tops with a little olive oil, sprinkling with a little salt and pepper and toasting them in the oven for a few minutes. When they’re ready, on goes a small dollop of the tomato jam.
Top each tomato-jam-laden crostini with about a third the amount of the goat cheese mixture. The two complement each other splendidly. We even used a honey goat cheese and the slight hint of sweetness worked great.
This smelled really good while cooking down, so it was no surprise that it tasted just as good. The jam was slightly sweet but with a definite savory kick. The goat cheese was a really great additive to balance out the stronger jam flavors. The crostini is crunchy on the outside but still a little soft and chewy on the inside. We would expect this little snack to fly off the plate!
Crostini with Sun-Dried Tomato Jam
from Giada De Laurentiis via FoodNetwork.com
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: about 45 minutes Level: Easy Serves: 6-8
For the sun-dried tomato jam:
- 1 (8-ounce) jar sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and chopped, oil reserved
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 onion, thinly sliced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the crostini and goat cheese:
- 1 baguette, cut into 3/4-inch slices
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 5 ounces goat cheese, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
Place a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the chopped sun-dried tomatoes, 1 tablespoon of the reserved sun-dried tomato oil, olive oil, onion, and garlic. Stir and cook until the onions are soft and beginning to brown at the edges, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the sugar, vinegar, water, chicken broth, thyme, salt, and pepper. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Remove the cover and continue simmering until most of the liquid is reduced and the mixture is the consistency of jam, about 5 to 10 more minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil.
Place the baguette slices on the baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, lightly coat the baguette slices with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until lightly toasted, about 8 minutes.
Place the soft goat cheese in a small bowl. Stir in the thyme.
Spread the crostini with Sun-Dried Tomato Jam and top with the goat cheese and herb mixture. Transfer to a serving plate and serve.
Again, this is a great make-ahead recipe. Make your tomato jam and goat cheese mixtures, cover them well in separate bowls and refrigerate. The crostini can be made ahead, cooled and saved in a air-tight container or plastic food storage bag. The bread might be better made the next day, but the difference would be pretty minimal. If you feel the crostini slices need it, the day of, place them back on a baking sheet and toast just a couple of minutes in the oven to bring them back up to a crunchier texture. Take the goat cheese out about an hour before serving to allow it to soften again a little.