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Slow-Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Garlic with Herbed Ricotta & Balsamic

Posted Sep 17 2012 1:01pm
  There's never been a better time to stroll down to your local market or nearby supplier to scoop up some of these gorgeous, seasonal tomatoes.   From the vast array of colourful heirloom varieties - the thoroughbreds of tomatoes - to these brilliant red, lycopene rich, local cherry tomatoes - they are fragrant, fresh and bursting with flavour.   It won't be long before commercially produced tomatoes are shipped across the continent to find their way into our grocery stores, a mere shadow of their former selves; nutrient weakened, anemic looking and tasting somewhat like cardboard.    Take advantage of these bountiful beauties while you still can!     Slow-Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Garlic with Herbed Ricotta & Balsamic
  • 1 basket cherry tomatoes, cut in half or quartered (you can use any tomato of choice)
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and slivered
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Sea salt & black pepper
  • 6 or so slices of dark rye bread (or bread/cracker/food of choice - see note below), sliced into smaller segments as desired
  • 1 cup or so ricotta cheese
  • Handful of fresh chopped herbs of choice, I used up the remaining lemon-thyme from my little herb box
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  -----------------   Note:   I used a dark rye bread for this recipe but you could use any whole grain of choice or, if you prefer not to use grains, consider serving the ricotta/tomato inside boiled egg white halves (with the ricotta filling/tomato topping taking the place of the removed yolks).   -----------------   I ended up slicing each of these portions in three
to create smaller hors d'oeuvres bites
  Heat oven to 300 F.   Spread a piece of parchment paper out onto a large baking tray.   Place tomatoes and garlic on tray.           Drizzle tomatoes and garlic with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper (yum!).   Place tray in oven for approximately 1 hour (tossing the tomatoes/garlic around at least once if you can during that time) until tomatoes have softened and garlic takes on a chewy roasted texture.     Don't miss out on the tray scrapings ~ delish!
  Remove tray from oven and allow tomatoes to cool somewhat while you prepare ricotta mixture.   In a small bowl, mix together ricotta cheese, herbs of choice and lemon zest until combined.   Spread ricotta mixture onto bread/crackers of choice and top with tomatoes and garlic and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.     
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