Monday, August 18, 2008

Bachelor’s Paradise: Date Night

Date Night is one of my favorite traditions! Now that many of us are no longer eighteen, the time has come to step up our game. The traditional movie and dinner is still a great way to get to know someone a little better, but how do you get the evening started? Do you kick it old school and pick up your date? What if it’s your first date, do you meet at the theater in case you need to make the quick getaway? Assuming you’re past this point, I would highly suggest making an appetizer to share at one of your homes so you can talk before the movie. Yes, this is a little more labor intensive, but well worth the time and effort. Plus, you’ll get points for making a restaurant quality starter. Pomodori al Forno is a traditional Italian antipasto, the kind that you’d find at a traditional Trattoria. And it roughly translates as “Tomatoes in the oven.” It’s the kind of starter that you’d bring to a large family gathering while you’re waiting for the grilled lamb leg to get going. It’s disarmingly simple, basically slow roasted plum tomatoes with goat cheese and a sliced baguette. This can be served year round, thanks to the high quality of canned tomatoes that can be found in better grocery stores! Trust me, this works.

Pomodori al Forno


½ cup (or more) olive oil, divided
1 pound plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise, seeded
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/3 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh Italian parsley

Aged goat cheese (Bûcheron is rad)
1 baguette, thinly sliced crosswise, toasted


Preheat oven to 250°F. Pour 1/2 cup oil into 13x9x2-inch glass or ceramic baking dish. Arrange tomatoes in dish, cut side up. Drizzle with remaining 1/2 cup oil. Sprinkle with oregano, sugar, and salt. Bake 1 hour. Using tongs, turn tomatoes over. Bake 1 hour longer. Turn tomatoes over again. Bake until deep red and very tender (time will vary, depending on ripeness of tomatoes) about 15 to 45 minutes longer. Transfer tomatoes to plate when soft.

Layer tomatoes in medium bowl, sprinkling garlic and parsley over each layer; reserve oil in baking dish. Drizzle tomatoes with reserved oil, adding more if necessary to cover. Let stand at room temperature 2 hours. Cover; chill up to 5 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Serve with aged goat cheese and toasted baguette slices.

© 2008 MD TOTAL all rights reserved.

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