A grill offers wonderful vegetable cooking options. It’s a pity that most people only cook meat on their grills, because grilled vegetables make wonderful and satisfying summer meals. If you are a grilling enthusiast, or would like to become one, I highly recommend the elegant cookbook by Francis Mallmann Seven Fires: Grilling the Argentine Way. My husband, the family grill-wallah, was intrigued by the directions for Burnt Tomatoes, and set out to make a great tomato sandwich. All the hot work stays outside, and your kitchen is spared. Of course you can buy tomatoes at the Farmers Market if you don’t grow them yourself, but if you plant a few around your house, you’re likely to realize why they were grown as an ornamental even back when they were thought to be poisonous.
Click here for the recipe!
To feed four lightly or two amply, you will need:
4 smallish ripe tomatoes, about 2.5 ” in diameter
A cup of good goat cheese (mine was from South Mountain Dairy, and you can get it at the Corrales Farmers Market)
1 pint of good cherry tomatoes (I used Green Grape tomatoes)
4 slices of a good sourdough boule, about half an inch thick.
For the Green Sauce:
1/2 cup good olive oil
1 cup of parsley leaves
1/3 cup of oregano leaves (if growing your own, make sure this is Italian or Sicilian oregano, not Greek oregano)
1 large clove of garlic
1 tablespoon of colatura (garum) OR two mashed anchovy fillets
a squeeze of fresh lemon juice from one wedge of fresh lemon
Make the green sauce first. Pound the herbs and garlic in your mortar and pestle (see the notes on “Herbs” on my website recipe page) and ad the olive oil, or chop together in a small food processor. Add the colatura or anchovies. If you are feeding vegetarians, use salt instead. Squeeze in the lemon juice. Taste to check the seasoning and set aside.
Wash the cherry tomatoes, cut each in half, and set aside. Do this within half an hour of serving time so they don’t get runny.
Cut the tomatoes in half crosswise. Heat the griddle section of your grill very hot (you can also make these in a heavy cast-iron skillet on your stove, but the kitchen gets pretty hot.) Place the tomatoes cut side down on the very hot griddle. Don’t touch them or move them around, or your crust will be ruined. Meanwhile, brush the bread slices lightly with green sauce and toast lightly on the grill. Keep an eye on the tomatoes, and when you see that the bottom edges are well charred, pick them up with a spatula and set them charred side up on a tray, at least an inch apart so that they don’t steam and ruin your crust.
Spread the grilled bread with goat cheese. Put the tomatoes on top, charred side up. Toss the cherry tomatoes with some Green Sauce, reserving some for the final drizzle, and heap them at each end of the bread on large plates. Drizzle the sandwiches with the rest of the Green Sauce, sprinkle the sandwiches and the cherry tomato salad with a little coarse sea salt, and serve.
If you want to go even further, you can cook some excellent bacon on the griddle, add it to the sandwiches under the tomatoes, and rub the bread briefly in the hot bacon fat before proceeding with assembly of the sandwiches. Personally, I think this is gilding the lily, and prefer the meatless version.