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Cherry Tomato Crostini with Herbed Goat Cheese

Course Appetizer

Ingredients
  

Herbed Fresh Goat Cheese

  • 2 cups whole goat's or cow's milk yogurt
  • 1 generous tablespoon mixed fresh herbs (be sure to include chives, as well as an assortment that could include thyme, sage, basil or flat-leaf parsley), very finely minced
  • 2 teaspoons shallots, minced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
  • generous pinch of cayenne pepper

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

  • 1 1/2 pounds cherry tomatoes, stemmed and halved
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • handful of fresh herbs (any combination of rosemary or thyme sprigs, bay leaf, and basil or sage leaves)
  • sea salt or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Toasts

  • 4 thick slices bread, such as ciabatta, a country bread or a sourdough that is not too dense
  • olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • a few leaves of fresh basil, sage or flat leaf parsley to garnish

Instructions
 

For the herbed goat cheese:

  • Line a mesh strainer with a few layers of cheesecloth or muslin and set it over a bowl.
  • Scrape the yogurt into the lined strainer and refrigerate the yogurt for 24 hours.
  • Put the strained, thickened yogurt into a bowl and mix in the herbs, shallots, garlic, salt and cayenne pepper.
  • Refrigerate until ready to use.

For the roasted tomatoes:

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  • Combine the cherry tomatoes, olive oil, sliced garlic and herbs in a baking dish or pan that will hold them all in a snug single layer.
  • Season with salt and pepper, mix well and spread them out in a single layer.
  • Roast the tomatoes in the oven for about 45 minutes, stirring once or perhaps twice during baking, until they’re wilted and their juices are starting to concentrate — and perhaps brown a bit — in the bottom of the baking dish or pan.
  • (The baking time will depend on the material of the baking dish and type of cherry tomatoes used.) Ideally, you want the tomatoes to juice, and for the juices to thicken and concentrate.
  • Scrape the tomatoes and any juices into a bowl and let cool to room temperature.
  • They can sit up to 8 hours, and improve the longer they sit.
  • When ready to serve, make the toasts.

For the toasts:

  • Evenly brush the bread with olive oil.
  • Place them on a baking sheet in a preheated 350ºF oven and toast for about 5 minutes, until light golden brown.
  • Remove from the oven and when just cool enough to handle, rub the slices generously with the garlic clove.
  • Let cool to room temperature.

To serve:

  • Thickly smear each piece of bread with the fresh herbed cheese.
  • Set each one on a plate.
  • Pluck out the herbs and spoon the tomatoes and their juices onto the slices of bread.
  • Coarsely chop the herbs for the garnish, and scatter them over the top of each portion.