Cherry Tomato Sauce on Toast

Excerpt from Ari’s Top 5 enews

An easy mid-September supper to make at home!

Here’s a lovely little dish I’ve been making of late. It starts with some of the terrific heirloom cherry tomatoes Tammie’s been bringing home from Tamchop Farm. Of course, you can make this with bigger tomatoes too, but I’m partial to the greater sweetness of the cherry tomatoes for this dish. Regardless of size, the quality of the tomato is critical to the flavor of the finished dish.

To prepare it all, start by heating up a saucepan. Add a bunch of extra virgin olive oil. When the oil is hot (be careful not to let it burn), add a pint or so of cherry tomatoes. If you want, you can cut them in half, though I usually just leave them whole—they will slowly break down and split while they cook. Add a bit of sea salt and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 15 to 20 minutes or until you have a soft tomato sauce in which the whole tomatoes are still clearly visible. If you’re working ahead, you can simply turn the sauce off for an hour or two until you’re ready to eat.

When it’s time for dinner, toast some Bakehouse bread. I used Paesano the other evening, but really any of the Bakehouse’s breads will work well. The Sicilian Sesame Semolina is one I want to try it with before tomato season winds up. Drizzle some good olive oil on the hot toast, then spread with fresh ricotta. Sprinkle it with a bit of freshly ground black pepper. Pour the newly made tomato sauce onto the toast. Top with any fresh herbs you want (basil, parsley, thyme, etc.). Grab a knife and fork, or just pick the whole thing up with your hands, and eat!

I like the toast with some chiles on the side. Great with anchovies as well! The whole thing can be ready in 20 minutes—enough time to make a lovely seasonal green salad to enjoy with it too.

Here in Michigan, we know the tomatoes will soon be gone for the season, so take an extra minute to walk through the Four Steps to Tasting Great Food. Enjoy them before they leave us for the season! Pay attention. Appreciate the aromas, colors, and flavors. Personally, I make a mental toast to all the hard work that Tammie does to get her heirloom tomatoes from seed (starting with indoor propagation in February) to the point where we get to eat and enjoy them. So much watering, weeding, pruning, and tending to each plant. Each one is something remarkably special. This simple meal is one of the most rewarding ways I’ve experienced of late to bring the Food Philosophy that’s in the new pamphlet to life. Easy, excellent, seasonal, and sumptuous!