Herbed tomatoes

By Wendy Andresen | Sep 05, 2018
Photo by: Wendy Andresen

If you grow your own tomatoes, you might be feeling overwhelmed by a superabundance right now. Here’s an easy recipe that lets you combine tomatoes with all the fresh herbs that are also available now. The idea is to soften the tomatoes just enough to develop their sweetness, but not enough to melt them down into a sad, tired puddle. Leftovers are also delicious cold the next day.

Ingredients:

4 big, ripe tomatoes, cored

1/2 cup packed mixed fresh herbs, such as parsley, cilantro, basil, chives, mint

2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil (your very best)

1 large clove garlic

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Chop the herbs as finely as possible, then place them in a small bowl.

2. Smash the garlic clove by placing it on your cutting board, covering it with plastic wrap, and flattening it with several hard whacks from a meat tenderizer mallet (smooth side) or rolling pin. Uncover the smashed clove and then mince it as small as possible with your chef’s knife. I suppose you could just use a garlic press, but you’d miss the satisfaction of pounding something to smithereens.

3. Add the pulverized garlic to the herb mixture, along with the olive oil and some freshly crushed black pepper (no salt yet!).

4. Slice the cored tomatoes in half from top to bottom (i.e., north pole to south pole).

5. Place the tomato halves cut side down on a baking sheet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.

6. Set your oven rack as close to the broiler as possible, and broil the tomato halves on high for 3 to 4 minutes. They may char somewhat, and that’s OK. You could instead put them on your outdoor grill, cut side up, if you’re grilling something else as well. Otherwise, it doesn’t seem worth it for the short cooking time.

7. Remove the tomatoes from the broiler, turn them cut side up, transfer them to a serving platter, and coat the cut sides with the herb mixture, using all of it. Remember to turn the broiler off!

8. Now you may salt them. I really like a good pinch of Maldon salt on these, because the big flakes of salt add some nice crunch, but you don’t have to be so fancy.

9. Return the serving platter to the oven with the oven turned off, and let the tomatoes stay barely warm for a few minutes while you finish preparing the remainder of your dinner.

Just this little bit of cooking the tomatoes magically transforms them into a sweet, sublime vehicle for all the fragrant herbs. You may serve them slightly warm, at room temperature, or cold. How about nestling some of these beauties on a pile of garlicky pasta?

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