During August, Tomato season is in full swing. I love the versatility of the tomato, using it raw, cooked, stuffed or sliced as a side dish, appetizer, or entree. They come in so many wonderful colors and sizes ranging from the Green Zebra to the tiny, sweet orange Sun Gold, to the hearty, divine yet wrinkled Heirloom varities. Recently I had the pleasure of judging the Tomato Fest contest at the Dunwoody Green Market. The entries were all delicious, creative, and had eye appeal to boot. Fellow personal chef Michelle Greene (pictured above with our table of treats) and I had a difficult time selecting a winner.
Finally it came down to the smooth, velvety red Gazpacho and the Sundried Grape Tomatoes & Fresh Mozzarella Bruschetta. The Bruschetta won first prize, but both were divine. I would be proud to have either one of these on a client dinner party menu.
Earlier this summer I taught a class for Gena Berry at Cooks Warehouse featuring Tomatoes. One of my favorite recipes from that class was the Southern Scalloped Tomatoes...really easy and VERY flavorful. Using two different color tomatoes, such as red and yellow, really make this dish pop.
Southern Scalloped Tomatoes
6 large heirloom toamtoes, cored and sliced 1/3 inch thick
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
2 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1 garlic clove, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chiffonade
1/2 cup freshly-grated Parmigiana Reggiano cheese
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 400 F. Lighly oil a shallow 2-quart baking dish.
Lay out the tomatoes, overlapping as needed in the baking dish. Season them with salt and pepper, and then drizzle with Balsamic vinegar. In a small bowl, combine the Panko, garlic, thyme, basil, and cheese. Mix well and then sprinkly the mixture evenly over top of the tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil.
Bake for 35 minutes until the tomatoes are tender and the topping is crisp and golden. Serve hot.