My favorite flavor: charred tomatoes

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Every year of eating tomatoes (only three years now), I seem to learn something new about them.

This summer I have a new obsession thanks to the cookbook Seven Fires: Grilling the Argentine Way, by Francis Mallmann: charred tomatoes. Several of Mallmann’s listed appetizers call for burning the featured vegetable (cherry tomatoes or carrots) or cheese and then platting the singed goodness on bread or a salad. With a slightly skeptical mind I tested it out on a hot cast iron skillet with halved cherry tomatoes, and now I can’t stop eating my tomatoes this way.

Charred or burnt tomatoes with cheese on bread has become my breakfast and after work snack in this glorious time of bountiful tomatoes. And since this is a weekend, you can guess what I’m eating three times a day…

Charred tomatoes and cheese on bread

delicious burned tomatoesPreheat a cast iron skillet on med-high heat. You’ll want the surface to be hot: judge by being able to hold your hand above the surface of the skillet for no more than 2 seconds.

Slice a small handful of cherry tomatoes in half, or cut 1/4 inch slices off of a large tomato. Sprinkle a pinch of salt over the cut sides.

Assemble 1 oz of cheese (any type will work) in small thumb sized chunks and 2 small slices of bread to be close to your hot skillet.

Place the cut tomatoes, cut side down on the hot skillet. Make sure to obey Francis Mallmann’s 1st commandment of food making contact with a heated surface “Don’t Touch”.

After 1 minute, place the cheese chunks down on the skillet in the space remaining around the tomato slices. Place the pieces of bread along side to toast lightly.

Leave the cheese and tomatoes on the hot skillet for approximately 4 minutes at which time they will be burnt on the cooking surface.

Place the toasted bread slices on a plate, and with a nice sharp edged metal spatula, scrape/lift the charred tomato slices and cheese on to the bread, burnt side up (so it won’t get all steamy soggy).

Allow to cool slightly and dust with another slight sprinkle of salt and enjoy.

30 Comments

posted August 24th, 2009 at 7:46 am

[...] Charred Tomatoes: I will eat anything that’s on the verge of burnt. It started with Mark Bittman’s Burnt Onions, and last week I saw this recipe for charred tomatoes. I’m thinking mixing the two might be just my idea of heaven. [...]

posted August 24th, 2009 at 11:32 am

I thought my Spaghetti with Olive Oil, Mushrooms and Slow Roasted Tomatoes was a great way to enjoy tomatoes but this sounds even better! :)

posted August 27th, 2009 at 1:46 pm

I love this post! Great job!

posted August 28th, 2009 at 11:51 pm

Hiya, just gotta say how sensational these flavours are. You think ‘tomato and cheese, the old favourite’ but the pan-frying takes this somewhere else altogether, smokey and smushy and wonderful. I left the tab open for a week to remind myself to try it. :) Thanks for the post!

posted August 31st, 2009 at 2:27 am

[...] in the week I also came face to face with the transfixing gloriousness that is pan-seared tomato and cheese. Tomato and cheese is such a familiar pairing that at times it may seem an almost pedestrian [...]

posted August 31st, 2009 at 3:11 pm

that looks fantastic…i need to grab some good tonight so THAT can be my breakfast tomorrow!

posted September 1st, 2009 at 7:34 am

I’m always amazed when I meet a person who doesn’t like tomatoes. I love them!

- John
posted September 2nd, 2009 at 12:49 pm

Um…. YUM!

- EB
posted September 2nd, 2009 at 12:50 pm

Um…. YUM!

- EB
posted September 7th, 2009 at 1:10 pm

I just tried it, and it was tasty! Thanks for the recipe. My tomatoes got a little more on the burnt side than the charred side, so next time I’ll try just a little less time on the heat. Even my partner, who is not a fan of charred things, wants to have it again.

- K
posted September 7th, 2009 at 6:07 pm

Thanks for the great suggestion, was delicious with our dinner this evening!

- MoM
posted September 12th, 2009 at 9:08 am

I have some hope that my children may some day love my favorite veggie/fruit….the tomato! Growing up with an organic garden, I used to eat them like apples. You give me hope that I might some day have kids that love tomatoes too. At least my son will eat ketchup…it’s a start. <

- Guppy
posted September 25th, 2009 at 1:31 pm

Hmmm, I made an even better recipe since the other one that you would love: Pasta with Grilled Tomato Sauce – it has two kinds of tomatoes, grilled and charred!

posted October 19th, 2009 at 7:49 am

Off topic, but not too far. Simmering onions in honey and cloves until tender is supposedly a better cough syrup than you can buy OTC. So, I tried it. It works great, and it tastes awesome on buttermilk biscuits and toast. It is a very complex flavor, and prolly not for the weak.
I also boiled grated quince in honey till slightly caramelized and served on pancakes. It was TDF delicious.

- Joe
posted November 24th, 2009 at 10:11 pm

That looks yummy! i love it!

posted December 30th, 2009 at 2:32 pm

It was really yummy. Instead of cheese I put Patan ghee on it and the taste really got improved…..

- Maggie britt
posted January 12th, 2010 at 12:41 pm

Hi: No pressure, but am I missing something? You’ve been gone for awhile and I wonder if I am missing a post. I hope you are OK. Again, no pressure, I’m not a nosy blog stalking fan. Well, maybe a little nosy.

posted January 18th, 2010 at 5:32 pm

[...] Spinach and Feta Lasagna and Charred Tomatoes Tuesday: Risotto with Caramelized Onions and Chicken (made w/hm stock) Wednesday: Chicken Satay [...]

posted January 24th, 2010 at 7:01 am

My brother and sister-in-law visited Argentina last year and fell in love with the culture, especially the food. I can’t wait to surprise them with this recipe.

Thanks for sharing!

Susan

posted February 8th, 2010 at 12:45 pm

I actually have had this before and it is really really good. My mom started making these and it changed how we eat dinner. I want to start making these for my friends whenever we hang out for a great appetizer. Thanks for the reminder.

posted February 16th, 2010 at 7:33 pm

I miss you too. :(

- Joe
posted February 21st, 2010 at 10:54 pm

[...] Thursday: Hearty Mushroom Barley Salad and Charred Tomatoes [...]

posted March 31st, 2010 at 5:33 pm

The sandwich looks lovely!Never knew charred tomatoes could be such a wonder…will sure give it a try:)Do drop by my blog sometime!:)

posted August 5th, 2010 at 9:20 pm

that sandwich looks WONDERFUL!!!
i’m making roasted tomato soup next week, let me know if you want the recipe, it’s amazing! my 18 y.o. son asks for it every year for his bday dinner! (isn’t that a bizarre thing for a kid to ask for?)

posted November 26th, 2010 at 7:03 pm

-Charred tomatoes and cheese on bread…

I love this recipe, sound delicious…so yummy!!!

Thanks!

posted January 11th, 2011 at 6:20 pm

I love a pan of stewed tomatoes dusted with sugar and mixed with toasted buttered cubes of bread.. baked until the sides are gooey and somewhat charred. My mothers recipe

- Jan Dykema
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posted October 11th, 2011 at 7:31 pm

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posted April 5th, 2012 at 3:01 pm

You have a nice blog here, with some interesting recipes.

Did you know you can buy canned tomatoes that are roasted/charred, which ever you want to call it?

I am not a follower of things charred. It comes I think from my mom burning the food too often when I was a child.

But you can always take the same recipe and not roast/char the food, for those like me. :-)

posted April 23rd, 2013 at 3:39 pm

If you don’t have a cast iron skillet you can grill the tomatoes. However, I think a cast iron skillet is definitely worth having in your kitchen. It’s a great way to add flavor to dishes without adding fat and it’s a lot more convenient then firing up the grill for a few tomatoes!

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