Serves 6 to 8
We first tasted this dish long ago on a balmy summer evening at a restaurant by a lake in Bucharest, Romania. The waiter whispered, “The surprise is the bite of the hot pepper.”
• 1 1/2 pounds ripe cherry tomatoes
• 1–2 mildly hot fresh green chilis (Anaheim, New Mexican, poblano, or wax type)
• 1 large clove garlic, peeled and mashed with 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 2–4 tablespoons olive oil, or enough to lightly coat tomatoes
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
• 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
• Crusty French or Italian bread, sliced and brushed on both sides with olive oil
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
• Italian parsley and whole sage leaves for garnish
Preheat oven to 300°F. Cut cherry tomatoes in half if large. Place in a large bowl and add sliced chilis. Combine olive oil, garlic, and sage in a small bowl; pour over tomatoes and add cheese. Toss gently to avoid breaking up tomatoes. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Place tomato mixture in a large, shallow pan and warm in oven for 20 minutes until fragrant and hot through.
While tomatoes are baking, toast or grill bread on both sides until golden. Serve with warm tomatoes piled on toasted bread. Garnish with chopped parsley and sage leaves.
Madalene Hill and Gwen Barclay are herbal sages who are now relocating from Cleveland, Texas, to the tiny central Texas town of Round Top, where they will continue writing, teaching, cooking, and gardening.
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