Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Crostini with Sun-Dried Tomato Jam

I'm usually not a huge fan of stuff with sun-dried tomatoes, but when my friend Kristal brought this to a little get-together I had a few weeks ago, I started dreaming about it.  The recipe is easily doubled, which I usually do when I make it because it keeps well in the fridge for a week or two. 

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

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.

1 baguette, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1/4 cup olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
5 ounces goat cheese, room temperature
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves

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 lightly with salt and pepper.  Bake until lightly toasted, about 8 minutes.

Place the soft goat cheese in a small bowl. Stir in the thyme.

To assemble:
Spread the crostini with Sun-Dried Tomato Jam and top with the goat cheese and herb mixture. Transfer to a serving plate and serve.

Notes:  I usually buy the big jar of sun-dried tomatoes at Costco and make about 3 double batches of jam.  You can chop up the tomatoes by hand, but if you don't like the messy oily mess, a food processor works great if you have one.  When I make it, I don't do the goat cheese part because I'm not a goat cheese girl.  Kristal said you could also use cream cheese, but it doesn't really crumble, so it's harder to put on top, although you can spread it on your crostini and then put the jam on top.  I usually don't add all the water and also cook it for about 10 minutes longer than it calls for because I like it thick.  It will look like there's a lot of liquid even after it's been boiling, but as it cools, it does thicken up.  I don't like to spend money on fresh herbs that I don't use much of, so I use dried thyme and I don't notice a huge difference, especially in the jam.  Finally, I usually broil the crostini directly under the flames (in a gas oven).  It's faster...although it means it can burn much faster, too.

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