Monday, August 31, 2009

Appetizing

Sunday nights have their own sort of ethos; a kind of "back-to-school" feeling, even if you're not a student. The weekend is over, most people need to show up for work on Monday, and, often, a kind malaise sets in ... unless you are in Divaland. I don't do malaise.

In fact, I'm just as likely to celebrate a Sunday evening. Last night was no exception. Armed with a pint of grape tomatoes and some gorgeous onions from bro's garden, I turned the end of the weekend into quite an appetizing little event. Below, my recipe for a Divalicious Sunday evening ...

Goat Cheese Crostini with Caramelized Onion and Tomato Compote:
  • 1 large onion, peeled, halved and cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. granulated sugar
  • pinch of Kosher salt
  • some freshly ground black pepper
  • pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 1 pint of fresh grape tomatoes, milled*
  • one 14.5 oz. can of Petite Diced Tomatoes
  • zest of one large fresh lemon, minced
  • juice of 1/2 large lemon
  • 1/2 tsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin, optional
  • 1/4 tsp. Chinese Five Spice powder, optional
  • the leaves from 2 or 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • some soft herbed goat cheese
  • a large whole grain or whole wheat baguette, sliced thin, brushed with a bit of olive and then toasted until golden brown
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the onions and stir well to coat with the oil. Allow the onions to saute, stirring frequently for 1 to 2 minutes, add 1/2 tsp. of granulated sugar, a pinch of salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Continue cooking the onions, stirring frequently to redistribute, until golden brown and caramelized - approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Lower the heat to medium-low, if they begin to brown to quickly. The onions are done when they are evenly golden, not dark, brown. They will be soft but will still maintain their shape.

*While the onions caramelize, run the grape tomatoes through a food mill (placed over a large bowl) to separate the juice and pulp from the skins. This will take a bit of time, be patient. Once all of the tomatoes have been crushed, discard the skins and strain the juice and pulp through a sieve, pressing on the solids to extract. Save the resulting juice and discard the seeds.

Once the onions are cooked, add a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes and stir to combine. To the skillet, add the reserved grape tomato juice, a 14.5 oz. can of petite diced tomatoes (along with their juice), and stir well. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, honey, cumin, Chinese Five Spice powder, and the leaves from 2 or 3 large sprigs of fresh thyme. Stir well, allow the mixture to come to the boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes - or until the mixture has thickened and most of the liquid has evaporated - stirring as needed.

Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding more of anything you like. Remove the finished compote to a covered container and chill in the fridge until completely cooled.

To Assemble the Crostini:

Slather the whole grain toasts with some herbed goat cheese and top with a generous spoonful of the chilled onion and tomato compote. Top with a bit of fresh thyme, serve and enjoy!

Alternately, if you don't have a food mill - or don't want to be bothered - you can certainly choose to just chop the grape tomatoes and add them as is. The finished compote would have some seeds, but that's no great hardship. You might also choose to omit the grape tomatoes and add an additional can of diced tomatoes instead.

As for the seasonings, its all up to you. I happen to like a little extra punch, so I've added the cumin and Five Spice powder. A splash of Sriracha wouldn't hurt either, though if you prefer - you can leave the spices out altogether and simply flavor the compote with the thyme alone. The choice is yours!

The finished crostini are so incredibly savory and delicious, I promise you'll forget all about going to work on Monday ... almost.

So, what's your recipe for a festive Sunday evening? Curious Diva wants to know.

Bon appetite!

16 comments:

Dianne1216 said...

Wow, looking at this compote makes my mouth water. Gotta try it!

stephchows said...

ooo great minds do think alike!! I think I need to make some of these with my leftover goat cheese!!! YUM!!!

5 Star Foodie said...

Goat cheese crostini sound wonderful, I love the idea of topping them with the caramelized onion and tomato compote, delicious!

The Diva on a Diet said...

Di - you can def. leave out the cheese. I had some crostini with just the compote and they were awesome!

Steph - its a goat cheese kind of day! :)

5 Star - thank you! Its really quite delicious and would make a good topping for sandwiches as well.

Mom said...

That looks really good! I'm drooling. And because I don't know how to carmelize onions, it's a bonus for me!

danamccauley said...

This appetizer sounds so great - perfect for movie night with a glass of cold, crisp sauvignon blanc if you ask me.

words...words...words... said...

I hate Sunday nights for the very malaise you mention, but if I were served this it would certainly make me think differently!

GarlicBOSS said...

Sounds so good

Melissa Good Taste said...

Your probably going to want to b*tch slap me but I do not like goat cheese. :( I wish I did because this sounds so good!

Heavenly Housewife said...

What gorgeous crostini. Surely anybody would be impressed when you serve these. Looks absolutely lovely!

Christie's Corner said...

I graduated long ago and still get the nagging feeling I should be going back to school come September.

Great looking recipe! I've got tons of tomatoes from a neighbour and this look like a wonderful way to eat them.

Barbara Jacksier said...

I'm drowning in cherry tomatoes, so our Sunday night dinner was halved red and orange ones, a handful of capers and cubes of fresh mozzarella tossed with basil infused olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

I lined two plates with Boston lettuce leaves, then scooped the toms on top and topped with a few scrapings of Gran Padano (yummier than Parmagian, in my opinion)

pixelgal said...

Usually on Sunday night I find a reason to eat out but this recipe could make me change my mind. Still waiting to eat a delicious tomato this season but since I'm the only one in the house that eats them I don't buy very many so there could be some out there. And I do love chevre!

JAMJARSUPERSTAR said...

Yummy - if I made loads like that though I'd probably scoff the whole lot!

I think just making a couple would be good - I'm suposed to be watching what I'm eating!
Ciao

Scarlet xoxo

The Diva on a Diet said...

Mom - t'would be good with any kind of cheese. Glad to be of service WRT the onions! :)

Dana - I do ask you ... bring more than one bottle of that sauvignon blanc when you arrive. ;)

words words words - Sunday nights call for the serious artillery. LOL

GarlicBOSS - and so it was, thanks!

Melissa - no worries, you can leave out the goat cheese and enjoy it like bruschetta! :)

HH - thank you! I would certainly serve this for company.

Charmian - lucky you! Would love to have made this with garden tomatoes ... perhaps next year. The flavor would be incredible.

Barbara J. - what a lovely late summer meal! That's just the kind of thing I want when the weather is warm. Perfect!

pixelgal - dining out is another way to combat the Sunday funk. I think you'd really like this one. Will do it again for your sometime.

Scarlet - welcome back! I've missed you and will pop round to your blog to say hello. :)

You're so right, very easy to over-indulge in this treat ... though in my book it counts as a vegetable! ;)

nora@ffr said...

love the topping idea used here! yumm!