This delicious appetizer can also be served as part of a brunch or lunch buffet. Roasting the tomatoes brings out their natural sweetness, and an air fryer makes this job even faster and easier. The crostini (Italian for ‘little toasts’) can be topped up to 2 hours before serving, but it’s best to drizzle with balsamic glaze at the last minute.
- 2 cups (280 g) cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- Few pinches sea salt and white sugar
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) olive oil, divided
- ½ cup (125 mL) balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons (25 g) brown sugar
- ½ baguette
- ½ cup (113 g) cream cheese
- ½ cup (113 g) ricotta cheese
- Few pinches each salt and pepper
- ½ cup (10 g) fresh basil leaves, chopped and divided
- Start by slow-roasting the tomatoes in an air fryer or conventional oven. Place them in a bowl and toss with a few pinches each of salt and white sugar plus 2 teaspoons (10 mL) of the olive oil. Transfer to air fryer basket, placing in a single layer, and roast at 325F for about 25-30 minutes until softened but still a bit juicy and beginning to char at the edges. Roasting in the oven will take about 60-75 minutes at 325F on a parchment-lined rimmed baking tray.
- While roasting tomatoes, prepare balsamic glaze by combining balsamic vinegar and sugar in a very small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat and simmer for about 8-10 minutes until reduced in volume by half. Transfer to a heatproof jug and set aside.
- Put cream cheese and ricotta in a bowl and beat with an electric hand mixer until whipped and light in texture. Stir in half the chopped basil and a few pinches each of salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 400F. Slice baguette thinly on the diagonal. Place bread slices on a parchment-lined baking sheet and brush with remaining olive oil. Toast bread for 5-6 minutes until golden brown on top. If you prefer, baguette slices can be toasted up to 3 days in advance and stored in an airtight container once cooled.
- Top each slice of toasted bread with about a tablespoon of the cheese mixture, followed by 3-4 roasted tomato halves. Sprinkle with fresh basil and drizzle with a little balsamic glaze, then serve.
Serves 8; recipe can easily be multiplied.