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DigiBites: He Had Us At “Thickly Smear Each Piece Of Bread With The Fresh Herbed Cheese…”

Photo: The Epicurean Exchange

Perfect for our Warm Weather!

This warm-weather appetizer, first-course – or why not – a meal, can be served with a crisp salad and a glass of chilled rosé – there’s absolutely nothing better!


Roasted Cherry Tomato Crostini with Fromage Blanc and Herbs

For the Tomatoes:

1 1/2 pounds cherry tomatoes, stemmed

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced

Fresh whole herbs (any combination: rosemary, thyme, basil, summer savory)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Cheese:

8 ounces fromage blanc (farmer’s cheese) or goat’s cheese

1 1/2 tablespoons very finely minced mixed fresh herbs (chives, thyme, basil, summer savory, Italian parsley)

1 tablespoon finely minced shallot (sautéed with a touch of olive oil until soft – 30 seconds)

1 teaspoon finely minced garlic

Generous pinch kosher salt

Pinch cayenne pepper


For the Crostini:

4 thick slices bread (ciabatta, country bread or sourdough)

Extra-virgin olive oil

1 garlic clove, peeled

Fresh herbs, coarsely chopped, and French grey sea salt for garnish.

  • Preheat the oven to 350˚F.  Combine the cherry tomatoes, olive oil, garlic and herbs in a baking dish that will hold them tightly in a single layer.  Season with salt and pepper, mix well, and spread them out in the baking dish.  Roast the tomatoes for 45 minutes, stirring once or twice during baking until they are wilted and their juices are starting to concentrate and brown slightly.  Remove the tomatoes and juices to a bowl and let cool to room temperature.
  • Place the fromage blanc in small bowl and mix with the herbs, shallot, garlic, salt and cayenne pepper.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  • When ready to serve, make the toasts.  Preheat the oven to broil.  Evenly brush the bread slices with olive oil.  Place the slices on a baking sheet and broil until light golden brown, turn and repeat.  Alternatively, you can grill the toasts as well.  Remove from the oven and rub the bread generously with the fresh garlic clove.  Let cool to room temperature.
  • To serve, thickly smear each piece of bread with the fresh herbed cheese.  Remove the herb springs from the tomatoes and spoon the tomatoes and their juices over the bread.  Sprinkle with the coarsely chopped herbs, French grey sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Serves 4

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    • Great question, Bob! I did a little research, and all our readers will learn a little something right now:

      According to Chowhound, both Crostini and Bruschetta are of Italian origin and the difference is the type of bread, its size and the toasting method. Bruschetta, meaning “to roast over coals” is traditional made with thick, rustic Italian or sourdough bread and is typically grilled over open fire to achieve a nice crunchy char. It is then rubbed with raw garlic, drizzled with olive oil, finished with thick flakes of salt, and may or may not have a topping. For the Crostini, meaning “little toasts”, the bread is smaller and more round-shaped, like a baguette; is cut into thinner slices, toasted in an oven and always involves a topping. Crostini is therefore usually served as a two-bite appetizer and Bruschetta is a plated course.
      I originally discovered this recipe in France and hence the title Crostini (smaller, baguette-style bread). However, this is best served as Bruschetta – thick, rustic ACME (my favorite) bread (cut on the diagonal to make a large oval surface area), grilled or toasted, topped as described, and served on a plate with a knife and fork or picked up by hand!

      Hope this helps, and now you are all a little bit smarter today after reading this. And, so am I…

  1. Party at our house this weekend and this sounds like the perfect appetizer. We’ll put our baby girl on it and see how she does!

    • Interesting… our invitation must have gotten lost in the mail. Service has been spotty lately, perhaps we’ll just drop by…

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