Here in Northern California, the unusually late winter weather we had in May and June has caused a long delay for our gardens. Consequently, I now have a few tomatoes that are just starting to turn yellow. Fortunately, my neighbor Jerry's tomatoes are ahead of mine and he's very generous. He brought a box of tomatoes over last week and we've certainly been enjoying them. He brought me another box today!! Yippee!
|Tomatoes hold together better if sliced from top to bottom|
rather than across.
Unfortunately for my tomatoes, my herb garden was ready for harvest on time. The cilantro is seeding and the basil is flowering. Plus, something large is eating the leaves off the basil. Anyhow, there probably won't be many fresh herbs left before my tomatoes decide to ripen up. So I took the opportunity to use some of my basil with Jerry's tomatoes.
|Mmmmm!!! Smells so good!|
The ingredients and flavors are simple, but the result is amazing! In fact, the ingredients are so deceivingly simple that, as Robbie watched me make these, he kept asking if I was sure I wasn't supposed to mix in some ground beef or top it with bacon. Then he ended up really liking them.
These tomato bites can be served fresh or baked. I like them better fresh; Robbie prefers them baked. Either way, they are an easy, delicious, healthy dish. I could very easily be satisfied with a batch of them for lunch. Baked, they make a great appetizer or side-dish.
If you want a richer, more filling variation, you can put a slice of mozzarella cheese on each one, between the tomato and the basil. And I'm not talking about the low-moisture mozzarella that you shred for pizza. I'm talking about real, soft mozzarella cheese. Mmmm...my mouth is watering just thinking about it! Unfortunately, it's expensive so I don't buy it.
Mozzarella cheese, sliced (optional)
Parmesan cheese, grated
Fresh basil, chiffonade or torn
If baking, preheat oven to 400. Line a jelly-roll pan with parchment paper. Place tomatoes in single layer on paper and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and garlic powder.
If using, place a slice of mozzarella on each tomato. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and pepper. Top each tomato with a few pieces of basil.
Can be served at this point or baked for 8 to 10 minutes. Keep an eye on the basil so as not to burn it. Can serve on crostini.