Mary Engelbreit is not someone that I would regularly consider to be a culinary genius. She is a homemaker with decent taste in food and I’ve never had a reason to be particularly impressed with her cookbooks. My mom loves her, and so does my aunt, and one day, a few years ago, I stumbled across one particular picture in one of her cookbooks owned by own of them that looked like a glimpse into an oasis in the middle of the dessert. I had been wondering through the desert known as Food Funk, and I saw these literally glistening at me, so I ran for it.
Since my initial testing of the recipe, I have made these for lunch, dinner, brunch, in the spring, summer and fall, and because the tomatoes are cooked, even if they’re not absolutely in season, you can get away with it (but obviously the most stellar results are the most seasonal ones). These would go well as a topping for a salad, an addition to a burger, a sandwich filling or a side dish/appetizer for any meal including chicken or anything with rice or pasta. I don’t see how you can really go wrong. I couldn’t find this recipe when I searched for it again, but these have been on my mind, and I’ve made them enough times to have my own adaptation that I jotted down, and here it is.
Parmesan Dijon Broiled Tomatoes
2 or 3 large round tomatoes, ripe
1 clove garlic, crushed through a garlic press or finely minced
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 tablespoons dijon or spicy brown mustard
2 teaspoons sriracha
3 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
black pepper, to taste
1 1/2 scallions, very thinly sliced
Basil chiffonade*, if desired, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 450ºF. Slice the tomatoes about 1/2″ thick. (You want the slices to be plump and juicy.) You can use the ends of the tomatoes as well, so save them. Combine the garlic, mayo, mustard and sriracha. Stir to mix well, until the color is uniform. Add 2 tablespoons of the cheese, black pepper if you like, and the sliced scallions. Fold them in gently with a spoon.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (not wax paper) and lay the tomato slices in a single layer, about an inch apart on the lined pan. Using a soup spoon (or similar spoon, just one you’d eat at the dinner table with), spoon the mixture evenly onto the tomato slices. You don’t want the mixture to be mounded, but you want a thick layer. Don’t press the topping into the tomato slices, just gently spread it on top. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese evenly over the tomato slices and add ground black pepper over the top. Bake them for about 10 minutes or so, until the tomatoes are soft and the tops are golden brown. Remove them from the oven at this point and serve hot as a side dish or a snack. Garnish with the basil if desired.
*Chiffonade means to stack up a few basil leaves and roll them, then use a sharp knife to slice them into really thin slices. When you separate and unroll the slices, this will result in thin grass-blade looking pieces, which is a decorative way to garnish the plate