Category: herbs

Blackened Tomato Canapés

Blackened Tomato Canapés

Well. Hello! I’ve missed you.

I’ve spent the last two years working in animal rescue, but it’s time to dust off the blog and get back in the kitchen. Today I have a super simple but delicious appetizer to share with you. It’s very nearly September and I am desperately clinging to the last gasps of summer. This might just be my favorite time of year; farmer’s markets are overflowing and I fall in love with ingredients I’ve taken for granted all over again.

Blackened Tomato Canapés

Case in point: the tomato.

This recipe was made for the late-summer haul of juicy, sweet, perfect tomatoes. Use tomatoes worthy of a spotlight. If you happen to be growing your own grape tomatoes (and your own basil!) than this has got your name all over it. It’s quick to prepare and tastes great at room temperature, so you can make a bunch and let your dinner party guests enjoy them at their leisure. Perhaps on a deck with a nice bottle of red? I don’t have a deck, and didn’t throw a party, so I won’t tell if you just make these for yourself as a light snack on a weekend afternoon. They are so easy you can absolutely make them without an occasion.

Blackened Tomato Canapés
Makes about 25 pieces

1 Pint Cherry Tomatoes
Around 7 Slices of Sourdough Bread
25 Basil Leaves
1 Cup Balsamic Vinegar (or prepared/purchased balsamic glaze)
Olive Oil
Sea or Kosher Salt
Fresh Cracked Black Pepper

Start off by preparing the crostini. Arrange your oven racks so you have one at the very top and set your oven to Broil.

Prepping the Crostini

Slice the sourdough into bite-sized triangles. I like to cut the bottom crust off with a long chef’s knife (helps you get a nice clean edge) and create one big triangle. Slice that in half for two triangles, and each of those in half again. Each piece of bread should give you 4 small triangles. You can save the scraps to make your own breadcrumbs, or toss them to the birds.

Prepping the Crostini

Arrange the bread on a baking sheet and brush lightly on one side with olive oil.

Prepping the Crostini

Season generously with sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper. I like to go a little crazy with the black pepper, but if you don’t like its signature heat, you can ease up on it.

Seasoned Crostini

Broil for 2-4 minutes (watching constantly) until perfectly golden. Remove from oven and set aside. Do not walk away from these while they are in the oven or they will burn up!

Blackened Tomatoes

Now grab your cast-iron skillet and put it over high heat, very lightly oiled. You can make the tomatoes in a regular pan if you don’t have cast-iron, but a cast-iron pan is perfect for this application. Once the pan starts to smoke, add the tomatoes. Every 10 seconds or so, gently shake the pan to toss the tomatoes around. We are looking to char the skin a little while only lightly cooking the tomatoes.

Meanwhile, if you need to make your own balsamic glaze, add 1 cup of balsamic vinegar to a small sauce pot and bring to a boil. Reduce about 75%, until it becomes a thick glaze, being careful not to burn. Set aside when done. This takes about 10 minutes or less.

Blackened Tomatoes

The tomatoes are done when the skin is speckled with black char and begins to split. You are not making tomato sauce, so don’t overcook them until they are mushy. We want quick cooking over very high heat (about 5 minutes total) to add flavor but to keep the individual tomatoes whole.


Once all your ingredients are ready, begin assembly by placing a single basil leaf on each piece of crostini. I like to flip the leaf inside out to create a little boat for the tomato to sit in.

Blackened Tomato Canapés

Top each piece with a single tomato and drizzle the balsamic glaze over the top. If you did not salt the bread enough before baking, you may wish to add a little pinch of salt over the top, but taste it first to be sure!

That’s it! If you happen to have leftover tomatoes, they would be a wonderful addition to just about any recipe. I think they would be killer in pasta or chopped up as a salsa base.

Blackened Tomato Canapés

Broccolini, Cherry Tomato, and Butter Bean Udon

Broccolini, Cherry Tomato, and Butterbean Udon

I asked my twitter friends if they’d like to see recipes made for one, and the response was overwhelming; absolutely. A lot of you seem to make lunch for yourself, or have several weeknights where you’re cooking solo and want to throw something fresh together without a lot of hassel.

When I know I’m going to be eating alone, I rarely do the logical thing and make a big batch of something so I can have leftovers. I’m terrible with leftovers. I’m too fickle when it comes to food, so leftovers turn to science projects in the fridge. Therefore I tend to make a lot of one-off meals based on whatever odds and ends of produce I have left.

So here’s one of them. I had one serving broccolini, and half a pint of cherry tomatoes. Not enough of either to feed both me and my husband, so I made one little but delicious meal out of it. If you’re not cooking for one, this dish is easy to scale up, so don’t worry. But my friends who dine independently? This one is especially for you!

Annnd, how about a video? Here’s the whole meal, start to finish, in two minutes. A little overview, if you will. There’s nothing difficult about this recipe, so this is more for fun than anything. You can watch the whole video in HD, full-screen, even!

Watch this video on Vimeo instead.

Broccolini, Cherry Tomato and Butter Bean Udon
Serves One

1 to 1 1/2 Bundles Udon Noodles
Oil, about 2-3 Tbs
3-6 Stalks of Broccolini, depending on size
1/2 tsp Red Pepepr Flakes
Black Pepper
10 Cherry Tomatoes, quartered
1/2 Cup Butter Beans/Lima Beans, drained and rinsed
1-2 tsp Italian Herbs
Balsamic Vinegar, for drizzling

Heat a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add udon noodles and cook for four minutes (or as long as package directions dictate), then drain and rinse well. Coat lightly with oil to prevent noodles from sticking. I use spray oil for this, I think it’s the easiest and you use the least amount of oil. Set noodles aside.

Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium high with a little oil. Add broccolini and coat with oil. Season with 1 big pinch of salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Once the broccolini starts to turn bright green and get a little color (just a minute or two), push them to the edge of the pan.

Turn heat up a little and add quartered cherry tomatoes. Stir to coat in any oil/spices leftover from the broccolini, then let cook, untouched, to get a little color and soften up, 1-2 minutes. Once tomatoes are softened, add 1/2 cup of butter beans. Stir everything together and remove to a bowl.

In the still-hot pan, add a 1-2 Tbs more oil. Add cooked udon noodles to the hot pan, seasoning with a pinch of salt and italian herbs. Toss to coat the pasta. Once the pasta is coated and is heated through, add back the broccolini, beans, and tomatoes. Taste and season with more salt or pepper if needed.

Plate, and drizzle with balsamic vinegar if desired.

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Feel free to follow me on twitter! Besides random daily updates, I tweet about upcoming blog posts, show sneak-peek photos of new recipes, and let you know the moment my blog has been updated. I do try to limit cat-related tweets, but I’m only human. And it is twitter, afterall. Say hello and I’ll say hi back!

Broccolini, Cherry Tomato, and Butterbean Udon