Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Almond and Herb Crusted Roasted Heirloom Tomatoes

Alright, this is another one of those non-recipe-recipes that I urge you try. I know everyone's super busy with the kids going back to school and the cramming of the last bits of errands and family vacations and activities before this season is out. The last thing you may want to do is try something complicated for dinner. This is not a complicated side dish. Bear with me. I mean, really. TRY IT. Throw a piece of fish, steak, tofu, or chicken on the grill. Then boil some potatoes, nuke some frozen green beans or saute some spinach, and MAKE THESE TOMATOES! Because, they turned out INCREDIBLY delicious!

We've had a bumper crop of heirloom tomatoes because my parents have decided to turn their tiny backyard into a tomato sanctuary. They somehow manage to make time for these beauties despite their long work hours. They baby them. They worry about whether they get enough water. They love to share them. It's truly precious. And because of their nurturing, I get to share in this amazing bounty. But there's only so many tomatoes a person can eat before getting creative. So, after spying my pantry was either pistachios or almonds. I went with the almonds because I thought of the beloved Romesco sauce...check out the nutty coating:

So this side dish, is summer boiled down. Garden tomatoes. Herbs. Nuts. It's's's delicious. We served these little veggie wonders with some hot crash potatoes (thank you Pioneer Woman--those are a dinner staple in our house), edamame, a Costco veggie souffle, and some ciabatta bread. Our little family loved them. LOVED them.

Try them with a variety of heirloom tomatoes for the best presentation--I had yellow, green, and red tomatoes. The savory crunch really compliments the flavor of the roast tomato. They shrink down a bit when you roast fact, I'm making a double recipe next time because they were that good. And then I'm going to put the leftovers in a sandwich. Maybe with Havarti cheese and some turkey or veggie bacon.

*In my 'recipe,' I used a mixture of both fresh and dried herbs. Remember that if you're using dry herbs, use a little less than fresh herbs--dry herbs tend to be much more potent in flavor. 

My three year old wanted to 'take my picture'---the result is below. Have to encourage creative outlets...

Loosely adapted from

Serves 2-4

  • 4 heirloom tomatoes, sliced in ~1/4 inch slices (or just slightly bigger)
  • 3/4 cup almonds (roughly)
  • One handful fresh herbs--your choice, rinsed and patted dry--(I used fresh basil, mint, rosemary, and dill and added a small dash of DRY parsley and oregano)
  • Sea salt & freshly ground pepper
  • ~1/2 tsp. garlic powder 
  • ~1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • Olive oil spray

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Spray a baking sheet with olive oil spray and set aside.

Place the almonds and herbs in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until combined and the nuts have been made to look similar to bread crumbs. 

Place crumbs in a shallow bowl and add the rest of the seasonings (salt and pepper, garlic powder, and paprika). 

Dip each tomato slice in the nut mixture and pat the mixture on if it starts to come off. Place the tomato slices onto the baking sheet and spray the tomatoes lightly with olive oil. 

Bake for 15 minutes and then gently flip each tomato piece--being careful not to scrape off the herb-nut coating. Continue to bake for another 15 minutes. They should be browned and crispy. 

Serve the tomatoes warm or at room temperature.

Serves about 3-4 as a side dish OR 2 people if they are more of the main entree.

I think these tomatoes would be amazing with a piece of good cheese (layer with some goat cheese for a pretty presentation), some fresh bread, and a lovely Chardonnay. But they'll probably taste best if you eat them on the porch during a cooler August evening. 

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