Sunday, March 28, 2010

Roasted Tomato Melts

I was thrilled to see big, juicy tomatoes available at the farmers' market this weekend. Greenhouse grown, these were the first tomatoes of the season so I had to pick up a few. I also got some fresh mozzarella from Chapel Hill Creamery as tomatoes and mozzarella are a perfect match. Although I love a simple caprese salad, drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and seasoned with salt and pepper, I decided to be a bit more creative with these delicious ingredients. I had some slice whole wheat bread from Whole Foods on hand, so I decided to make caprese melts. To add even more flavor and bring out the best of the tomatoes, I first marinated them in balsamic vinegar and thyme and then roasted them.

They turned out soft and juicy and full of flavor. Thin slices of mozzarella melted on top made for the perfect melts. You can make a couple per person and serve them as a meal or cut them small and serve as an appetizer. I made enough for a full dinner and served it with a side of farmers' market kale. I used the remaining marinade from the tomatoes to saute the kale or try my other simple kale recipe. Not only was this meal absolutely delicious, but it was made almost entirely from local ingredients. It doesn't get much better than food that tastes good, is good for you and does something good for the environment and community.

Roasted tomato melts:
  • 2 large beefsteak tomatoes, or 4 roma tomatoes
  • 8 oz fresh mozzarella
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 slices whole wheat bread
Preheat oven to 450F.
Slice the tomatoes, cutting out the hard stem area.
Remove the leaves from the thyme stems and chop small.
In a medium bowl, combine olive oil, balsamic, thyme and a few shakes of salt and pepper.
Toss in the tomatoes and let sit for about 10 minutes, tossing occasionally.
Line a large cookie sheet with aluminum foil and coat with nonstick spray.
Arrange the tomatoes in one even layer; roast for 10 minutes.
Remove the tomatoes and turn the oven on to broil.
Toast both sides of the bread for a couple minutes per side.
Slice mozzarella into 1/4 inch rounds.
Layer each slice of bread with 2 or 3 tomatoes and cover with cheese.
Broil for a few minutes until cheese is fully melted.
Serve immediately.

For a printable recipe click here

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