Are you suffering from a surfeit of fresh, ripe tomatoes from your garden, and can’t figure out a new way to eat them before they go bad? Try this recipe for a nice tomato-based side dish, or, along with some naan or pita breads, a tasty light lunch. It takes all of 5 minutes to prepare the tomatoes, and, at most, 10 minutes under the broiler, so it’s easy and fast. And, what could be better when your tomatoes are ripening faster than you can eat them?
We wish we had that problem. Instead, a troop of javalina came through early in the year and devoured our tomato plant. Fortunately, we can still order 15-pound flats of fresh tomatoes through our CSA, so we’ve been lucky enough to eat so many perfectly ripe tomatoes that we’ve turned a shade of red.
And, just so you know, we found the original of this recipe in Quick and Easy Indian Cooking by Madhur Jafrey.
Serves 4-6 as a side
Do not use tomatoes from the store for this! Spending hard-earned cash on tomatoes from the store is a waste. Instead, find a farmer’s market that has fresh ripe tomatoes; you’ll be glad you did. Garam masala might not be common in your supermarket, but you can always try an ethnic market. The prices on spices are often significantly lower than anywhere else.
Procedure in detail:
Preheat broiler. You’ll want the broiler hot before you slide in the tomatoes. It makes for quick browning and keeps some of the juice from leaking out into the pan. Don’t worry; this goes so quickly that you’ll be finished prepping by the time the broiler is hot.
Slice tomatoes. Slice each tomato in half and arrange on an ungreased baking sheet so they’re about an inch apart and the cut side is up..
Make spice mixture. In a small bowl — we find a custard cup is perfect — combine the salt, pepper, red pepper, cumin, and garam masala. Combining in a bowl makes sure there is an even distribution of the spices, which is important when it comes to using ground red pepper or cayenne.
Rub into tomatoes. We found that using about an 1/8 teaspoon of the spice mixture for each tomato half was perfect. And, by measuring it out on top of the tomato and rubbing it across the cut surface, we used up pretty much all the spice mixture.
Drizzle with lemon. Now, pour 1/4 tsp of lemon juice right onto the tomato halves. If you pour too fast, some will run off, but if you take your time, the lemon juice will soak right through the spices and into the tomato.
Broil. Slide the tomato halves under the broiler and broil for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the spices brown and the tomatoes become soft. Check often or you might end up with blackened tomatoes and a blackened pan.
Serve. Slide each half off using a spatula and drizzle with about 1/4 tsp olive oil per tomato. Serve immediately.
While fresh tomatoes are one of nature’s vegetable treats, it is sure nice to change up the way you eat tomatoes from time to time, and this is a great way to do it. The tomatoes come out loaded with flavor from the spices, and just a hint of lemon. You can eat these with a knife and fork, or they would be really good, but a bit messy, on a sandwich. Four stars.