You’ve got dinner almost ready to go, but need a quick, tasty side dish to add color and pizazz to the plate. I’ve got your answer – Broiled Mediterranean Tomatoes – and it only takes 10 minutes, start to finish. Broiled tomatoes produce a concentrated, intense flavor with less liquid than raw. Bursting with the flavors of tomato, olives and feta cheese, they’re a fabulous side dish to grilled beef, chicken, and fish. And gorgeous next to a plate of fried, poached, or scrambled eggs. This side dish is sure to deliver joy to any entree.
There’s a ton of data promoting the health benefits tomatoes provide. We know they provide our bodies with strong antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients like Vitamin C, boosting our immune system by protecting cells from free radicals, which helps the body’s natural defenses fight inflammation. One medium tomato provides about 30% of the Recommended Daily Intake.
Add to the list Vitamins A (think carotenoids), Vitamin K1, as well as potassium, folate (B9) and biotin for starters. Lycopene, a carotenoid found in hefty amounts in ripe tomatoes, has been extensively studied as potentially decreasing the risk of disease, particularly certain cancers and eye disease.
Start with firm, red, ripe tomatoes. My favorites are plum or Roma, (Italian plum tomato). These varieties have a greater flesh to juice ratio, meaning they have a more solid, meaty texture with less juice and seeds – perfect for broiling. If you have other varieties on hand, they’ll work fine. You can speed up ripening by wrapping in newspapers for a day or two.
After a quick rinse, remove the stem end with a sharp serrated knife and cut the tomatoes crosswise in half. Place in glass baking dish or line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Drizzle a good quality olive oil on top, followed by salt, pepper, olives, green onions and last but not least, crumbled feta. Broil close to heat (top rack) until cheese is slightly browned. In three to four minutes, you’re off to Mediterranean heaven. Let them stand for 5 to 10 minutes after removing from the oven so you don’t burn your tongue!
Exchange the olives for fresh or dried basil/oregano and the feta for mozzarella, add a shake or two of balsamic vinegar, and you’re cooking Italian!
Broiled Mediterranean Tomatoes
- 4 medium ripe firm tomatoes
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher or sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta or shredded mozzarella cheese
- 4 tablespoons chopped ripe olives
- 2 tablespoons chopped green onion
- Preheat broiler to high.
- Wash tomatoes and remove stem end. Cut tomatoes crosswise in half.
- Place cut sides up on glass dish or on baking sheet lined with aluminum foil for easy clean-up. Drizzle olive oil over halved tomatoes and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with olives, onions and cheese.
- Broil on top rack of oven until tomatoes soften and cheese is slightly browned, about 3-4 minutes. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes and remove with a spatula to serving plate.