Thursday, December 31, 2009

Crostini with Tomato-Fennel Sauce

EDIT 1/2/09: originally I envisioned this as a bite with grilled tri-tip; however, the sauce is good on crostini alone, and reminds me of an italian version of Spanish "tomato bread", known as pa amb tomaquet. My version is a lot more juicy and flavorful from the fennel.

Sauce is based on what I found earlier this week on Epicurious, and very tasty. Would be good for pasta or pizza; I like the sweet fennel notes that come from both the seeds and the root.

20 crostinis (recipe follows)
1 cup of Tomato Fennel Sauce
Fresh fennel fronds

Assembly: spread about 1 tbsp tomato sauce on crostini. Top with small piece of fennel frond.


1/2 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
Baguette or other good-quality crusty bread, cut into 1" x 2" pieces
Salt + Pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. In a small bowl, combine olive oil and garlic. Let rest at least 30 minutes
  3. Lay sliced bread out on cookie sheet.
  4. Brush bread with infused oil on both sides.
  5. Season "up" side with salt and pepper
  6. Bake for 7 minutes, flip pieces, and bake for 8 to 13 minutes more (15-20 minutes total).

Tomato-Fennel Sauce
Makes about 2 cups

* 1/4 cup olive oil
* 4 garlic cloves, chopped
* 1 cup chopped fresh fennel
* 1 1/4 teaspoons fennel seeds
* 1 28-ounce can Italian tomatoes
* 2 tablespoons tomato paste
* 1 teaspoon dried oregano
* 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
* 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add garlic, fennel and fennel seeds and sauté until tender, about 12 minutes. Add tomatoes with their juices and next 4 ingredients. Simmer until sauce thickens, breaking up tomatoes with back of spoon, about 25 minutes. Blend about 1 cup of sauce in blender til smooth; stir back into sauce. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover; chill. Rewarm before using.)

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