Roasted Tomato Toast with Bacon Marmalade, Inspired by Cavan Restaurant & Bar

If you're looking for a St. Patrick's Day recipe, check out our Stout Chocolate Skillet Cake!

An entire section of a restaurant menu, dedicated to toast. Literally who does that? Someone fucking awesome. I know we've all been gorging ourselves with different variations of avocado toast for a while now, and trust... I'll still slather some avo on crusty bread any day of the week, but I thought it would be fun to give other vegetables that are actually fruits a chance to shine. Enter, Cavan's roasted tomato toast.

For those of you not familiar with Cavan - a part of the restaurant group that also does Sylvain, Barrel Proof, and Meauxbar here in New Orleans - it's this new restaurant in uptown New Orleans set in a former mansion whose chef is Kristen Essig (of Meauxbar) who is really the best chef in the world and where you can find an entire list of fancy but affordable toasts which is really the greatest idea ever. The roasted tomato toast is probably my favorite but I also went HAM on the fried oyster toast, the crab & butter bean toast, and the white bean toast. Oh, that's all of them.

Besides eating my body weight in bread and acceptable bread toppings, when I'm at Cavan you'll also find me drinking my body weight in mezcal and fixing Matt's tie because oh this is the place he's been helping open for the past few months, giving me even more of an excuse to go there three times a week (other than the aforementioned toast and mezcal).

OK so let's talk about this roasted tomato toast. I don't know the actual recipe for Kristen's tomato toast and instead wanted to try my hand at recreating it cause that's fun for me. However, if you want the actual recipe for anything on the menu, she'll happily give it to you. We should probably start with the bread when discussing toast, correct? I used bread from Bellegarde Bakery, my favorite New Orleans bakery that apparently only employs beautiful men who toss around dough all day, resulting in loaves of the most wonderfully crusty-on-the-outside-soft-as-a-pillow-on-the-inside bread. If you're in New Orleans you can actually get this bread at the Whole Foods on Broad St. or at Faubourg Wines, our fav wine place. Each slice of bread gets lightly grilled in a little olive oil before the construction of the toast begins.

Next comes the goat cheese, a substance I could eat on basically anything. I used a soft goat cheese, just giving a little smear on each piece of toast. In this recipe, the goat cheese acts as a creamy and mild counterpart to the vinegar-heavy marmalade and marinated tomatoes. After the goat cheese comes the bacon marmalade. Bacon. Marmalade. It's slightly sweet and vinegary, packed with pseudo-caramelized onions and chunks of bacon. It's everything I never knew I wanted, and I've yet to find a food that isn't benefited by the addition of it.

Following the marmalade comes the tomatoes. Roasted in a a little sea salt and olive oil, then marinated in a balsamic vinegar and rosemary marinade, they're fucking great. They get piled on top of the marmalade. I'd recommend making extra tomatoes and tossing them on your salad, on a sandwich, in your mouth, etc. Toss 'em everywhere. K, you're done. Full recipe below, sweeties!

Roasted Tomato Toast with Bacon Marmalade

prep time 30 minutes // cook time 45 minutes // makes 6 - 8 pieces

for the roasted, marinated tomatoes

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/3 c olive oil + 2 T olive oil for roasting
  • 1 c balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 c granulated sugar
  • 2 whole sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt + pepper

for the bacon marmalade, adapted from Food Republic

  • 6 slices raw bacon, cut into small chunks
  • 2 T brandy
  • 2 white onions, sliced into thin (roughly 1/8") strips
  • 3 leaves fresh sage, minced
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1/4 c apple cider vinegar
  • 1 t red pepper flakes
  • Salt + pepper

also need

  • 1 loaf of crusty bread, cut into 3/4" to 1" thick slices
  • Olive oil for grilling bread (about 2 T)
  • 4 oz soft goat cheese, room temperature
  1. Begin by preparing the tomatoes. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a roasting pan with parchment paper. Place the halved tomatoes on the parchment paper, cut side up, and drizzle evenly with the two tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast for 40 to 45 minutes until wilted. Remove from the oven and let cool before adding them to the prepared marinade (instructions in next step). 
  2. While the tomatoes are roasting, prepare the marinade by bringing the balsamic vinegar, garlic, one sprig of rosemary, and sugar to a simmer over medium-high heat, whisking to dissolve the sugar. Let simmer until the liquid is reduced by half. Remove from heat and pour into a heat-safe container - I'd recommend a mason jar. Whisk in the 1/3 cup of olive oil. Once the tomatoes are cooled, add them to the container with the remaining sprig of fresh rosemary. This can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to one week. 
  3. To prepare the bacon marmalade, bring a medium cast iron skillet to medium-high heat and add the chopped bacon. Cook the bacon for about 8 minutes, until crisp and the fat has rendered. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon, making sure most of the grease stays in the skillet. Reduce the heat to medium and add the sliced onions. Stir often and cook for 15 minutes, until somewhat caramelized. 
  4. After fifteen minutes, stir in apple cider vinegar, brandy, red pepper flakes, sage, and sugar. Stir constantly until sugar has dissolved. Bring heat to low and let simmer for about 5 minutes until it thickens. Add the bacon and cook for an additional 15 minutes. Remove from heat and use for toast immediately, or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week. 
  5. To prepare the toast, bring a tablespoon or so of olive oil to medium heat in a cast iron skillet. Add the bread and grill on each side, adding more olive oil as necessary, until golden brown. You may need to do this in multiple batches. Once the bread is grilled, assemble the toast by smearing a small amount of goat cheese across the surface of the bread, followed by a small pile of the bacon marmalade, and finally topped with the tomatoes and a few specks of fresh rosemary.