24 June 2013

Grilled Brie and Ciabatta Topped with Slow-Roasted Sunblushed Tomatoes for National BBQ Day

Grilled Brie and Ciabatta Topped with Slow-Roasted Sunblushed Tomatoes
July 13th, 2013 marks Meal Exchange's fourth annual National BBQ Day (TM), a nation-wide celebration of locally sourced foods. Why go local? Buying local benefits your food system,your local economy as well as your taste buds. With farmers markets popping up everywhere during the summer, it's never been easier to make the right choice.The added benefit is that items are picked closer to their peak of freshness, enhancing taste, texture, and nutrition, and have had less time to spoil increasing shelf life in your kitchen. 
Every day we should be excited about what we are eating even if it just means something as simple as making use of a wonderful find at our local farmers market. Wineries, craft breweries and artisanal cheese makers are emerging and adding a new dimension to our local cuisine, enriching it and extending it well beyond it's traditionial boundaries. West coast salmon, New Brunswick lobster, Ontario cheddar are all being paired with wonderful Canadian wines and locally harvested fruits and vegetables. Foodies are in heaven and locavores are finally coming into their own.

When you eat locally, you eat what's in season.  You'll remember that strawberries are the taste of summer.  Even in the winter, comfort foods like squash soup and pancakes just make sense...a lot more sense than flavourless fruit from the other side of the world. This is hard to do all year round when you live in the "Great White North" but we support our local producers as much as humanly possible. 

I turn to what we can find from our local greenhouses or reinvent what is readily available all year round. Take for example this recipe. Tomatoes are packed with sunshine so while you're puttering around your house this weekend, tuck a pan of tomatoes in the oven, come back several hours later, and have a peak. They will add a whole new dimension of flavour to your dishes. Not only does slow-roasting concentrate and caramelize the intense flavour of cherry tomatoes, but it also gives them a meatier, more robust texture. The roasted tomatoes become versatile ingredients, perfect for tossing into pasta or salads, layering on sandwiches, or just using as a terrific side dish for grilled or roasted meats. I can't guarantee you will not have any left over so roast a double batch. They keep in the refrigerator for a week (or longer, if you can manage not to eat them all first), and you can freeze them, too. A bonus is the lovely tomato-infused olive oil left over after roasting; drizzle it over grilled vegetables or on the crusty bread, or use it in this basil vinaigrette.

The technique is simple. Spread them in one layer on a rimmed baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and herbs, and coat generously in olive oil. Roast slowly until the tomatoes are a deep, rich brown and very collapsed. You can certainly use this method throughout the year on less-than-ripe tomatoes that you would otherwise use as ping pong balls. They will remind you of lost sun-kissed summer days and picnics in the park. 

So this is where the BBQ comes in!! Where will it be?  Well... It’s in your backyard! By hosting your own event with as much locally raised and grown food as possible, you become an integral part of the local food movement. Sustainable food farmers, producers, processors and retailers need your support and the best way to help is to get cooking and talk to your guests about 'Why Local'. 

By hosting a BBQ and registering your event you are also becoming part of the national conversation. Share your stories, recipes, photos on Twitter (#NationalBBQDay), Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram and tag Meal Exchange or e-mail them to us for a chance to WIN a Napoleon BBQ Grill! Share recipes and tell BBQ-ers around the country how you've decided to Go Local, and why.

With your support, finding local will become easier than firing up that grill. So get grilling, and don’t forget to show us your fare!

**Grilled Brie and Ciabatta Topped with Slow-Roasted Sunblushed Tomatoes**

1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh chilies
6 mini wheels or three 4.5 oz wheels of brie cheese, at room temperature ( I use double cream brie from Poplar Grove in Naramata)
cedar plank
1 Baguette (French Bread), pide (flat Turkish bread) or ciabatta loaf
2 large cloves garlic, peeled

Sunblushed Tomatoes

250g (1/2 lb) fresh cherry tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup olive oil

For Grilled Brie: Soak an untreated cedar plank (available at grocery, cookware and hardware stores) in water overnight.

Whisk the olive oil in a large bowl with the lemon zest, garlic and chilies. Add cheeses to the bowl and coat with the mixture. Let stand for 15 minutes. 

 Preheat the grill to high and place the wet plank on the grate.  Heat the plank until smoking and burning on the bottom at the edges, about 10 minutes.

Slice the baguette, pide or ciabatta and toast pieces. Brusg lightly with olive oil. Place over a barbecue grill rack. As they are done rub them, one at a time, with a whole, peeled garlic clove. Season with a little sea salt, then stack them one on top of the other and set aside on the warming rack of the barbecue.

Arrange the cheeses on top of the plank. Drizzle with any remaining marinade. Cover the grill and cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until the cheeses are swollen and ready to burst. Remove the plank from the grill using tongs and let stand for 5 minutes.  Serve the cheeses on the plank with grilled bread. To eat, make a shallow cut on top of cheese and party peel back skin. Dunk bread in melted cheese and go for it! Serve with Sunblushed tomatoes.

Serves 6

To Make Sunblushed Tomatoes: In early morning while the house is still cool, heat your oven to its top temperature. Remove the stems from the tomatoes and cut larger ones in half  along their equator. Place cut side up in an ovenproof dish.

Mix together the salt, thyme, oregano and sugar and sprinkle over the top of the tomatoes. Drizzle over the olive oil and put in the oven.

Immediately, turn the heat down to somewhere in the region of 165-200°F. This isn’t an exact science, and will depend on how long you want to wait for your tomatoes... the lower the temperature, the longer it will take but more flavourful they will be.

Cook for 2-3 hours, until the tomatoes are soft and fragrant. They should lose their raw look, but not be charred. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Makes about 1 cup (can easily be multiplied, though)

You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author/owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison. Best Blogger Tips


  1. I was already hungry and now I see this. I want this. Beautiful.

  2. Oh MY!!!! my mouth is watering just looking at that wonderful grilled melted brie on that rustic board.

    Terrific picture Val.

  3. Oh Val, that looks like the best thing every for me. Excellent recipe. It will be visiting my kitchen when I get back from Cyprus. I am seriously drooling.

  4. What an out of hand treat. These sound scrumptious, Val. They are simple yet sophisticated and I think that is a perfect combination. Have a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

  5. my stars val that is one very foodporn-worthy photo!

  6. YES, yes, yes! Eat Local and Seasonal... that's what I say :D

    Nothing tastes as good as BBQ food. No cheese for me, sorry about that; but I would love some chicken and veggie skewers please ;D

  7. Fabulous post, Val. I love roasting tomatoes, but never thought to serve them with melting brie. How absolutely divine.

  8. That photograph has my mouth watering, really. luscious looking. Can almost taste the creamy cheese, feel the crunch of the bread, the smoky warmth of the tomatoes. Wow.

  9. Love this recipe as I am making my own brie, have a GREAT ciabatta recipe, grow and preserve my own tomatoes... it is a done deal. Will do this. Your pics are deadly!

  10. Look amazing Val make my mouth watreing because I love so much Brie (my favorite cheese) and in these bread look georgeous Val:)

  11. That cheese just oozing and those tomatoes make a perfect pairing. Wish I had that with a glass of Rose...

  12. Oh my goodness...I can't wait t try this. Not only is the cheese melted but it has to have a great flavor from the smoking cedar. Thank you for sharing the recipe.

  13. This would be great also on Canada Day. Hope you have a wonderful w-end! We are celebrating my parents 50th.

  14. I'd love to try this when my cherry tomato crop starts coming in (if it ever stops raining!). Brie is one of my favorites but I've never had it grilled like this before. It sounds delicious.

  15. You definitely pushed all the right buttons with this one. GREG

  16. Ohhhh I love this! Melted brie with slow roasted tomatoes sounds absolutely amazing right now :)

  17. That looks wonderful! Usually by this time of year I'm inundated with cherry tomatoes (and sunshine) not this year.... Duly filed away for later - when I have some LOL

  18. I just want to reach right in a grab that sandwich.


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