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
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.