Pot luck? Sign me up! I have, of course, an ulterior motive. Whenever there’s a pot luck, I am there to scope out the table and search for a take-away recipe. It is the rare pot luck that I don’t come home with a new recipe. I taste and sample until I find the dish or two that I know I want to add to my collection of recipes. Once I find the dish, then it’s on to find out who brought it!
At one such pot luck at work, my boss’s wife sent in a fabulous sun-dried tomato jam which was spread on a crostini (bruschetta by any other name) with goat cheese. Yes, please! This delicious jam turned out to be a creation of Giada De Laurentiis of the Food Network. It is a classic sweet-savory combination with creamy and crisp textures thrown in for good measure. It has the definite yum factor going on.
Not long after I obtained the recipe, I had the perfect opportunity to make it when Roger and I were invited to a pot luck New Year’s Eve gathering. When we arrived, I found an empty space on the counter to place the jam, goat cheese, and basket of crostini while Roger greeted a few people. It just so happened that I placed my appetizer between two different cocktail wiener offerings, one with the wieners wrapped in crescent rolls and the other in a crockpot with a jelly-mustard sauce. As I checked out the other appetizers in my usual manner, I found yet another cocktail wiener appetizer—this one with the wieners wrapped in bacon in a brown sugar sauce. At that point, I figured that someone had forgotten to include me on the cocktail wiener memo!
Just about then, Roger showed up hungry and asked me (knowing that I would have a good fix on the food) what I would suggest. I told him that he could have cocktail wieners, or that he could have cocktail wieners, or that he could have cocktail wieners! To his credit (or maybe not), he tried all three; and he declared that the cocktail wieners wrapped in bacon won the New Year’s Eve Wiener Award! Unfortunately, I didn’t come home with a recipe that night, but we had a great time and will always remember the wiener “contest.”
To celebrate our and two other couples’ 25th wedding anniversaries, I decided to skip the cocktail wiener appetizers and make this wonderful appetizer instead.
Ingredients for the Sun-Dried Tomato Jam
- 1 (8-ounce) jar sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and chopped, oil reserved
- 1 tbl. olive oil
- 1/2 onion, thinly sliced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tbl. sugar
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme leaves (or pinch of dried thyme)
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Ingredients for the Crostini
- 1 baguette, cut into 3/4-inch slices
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 5 ounces goat cheese, room temperature
- 2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme leaves
Directions for the Sun-dried Tomato Jam
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.
Directions for the Crostini
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 with salt and pepper. Bake until lightly toasted, about 8 minutes.
Place the soft goat cheese in a small bowl. Stir in the thyme.
Spread the crostini with Sun-Dried Tomato Jam and top with the goat cheese and herb mixture. Transfer to a serving plate and serve. (I actually like them better vice versa with the goat cheese spread on the crostini first and then topped with the jam. I also prefer to just put the ingredients out and let people make their own.)
Fran’s Note: In full disclosure, I made only the jam because a local store, Fresh Market, sells the most wonderful little toasts made from French baguettes. They are a quite delicious time-saver.
Source: A Giada De Laurentiis recipe from the Food Network via my boss’s wife