I haven’t always been a big fan of tomatoes, and it was only after I started working in commercial kitchens did I come to appreciate the flavor base it could provide. One of the staple dishes we often prepared was a Parmesan tomato, similar to this, but substitute bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese for the provolone and balsamic topping used here.
This version of the side came about as a bit of an on the fly item, but the results were truly worthy of being repeated. Grated cheese, or a broken up slice rather than a full slice of cheese would be the one change I would make so that the crusty browned cheese becomes more easily penetrated. If you have the time to spare, these could be prepared up an hour before they needed to go in the oven and dressed with the vinegar and basil to allow the flavors to mingle. Add the cheese just before the dish goes into the oven so the cheese doesn’t get watery.
1 medium tomato
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp chopped fresh basil leaves
1 slice of provolone cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Start off by washing the tomatoes and removing the cores with a paring knife.
Trim off the top and bottom (to provide a stable base for each half) and then cut the fruit in half.
Using a spoon, remove a few of the seeds from each half, just enough to accommodate the incoming vinegar.
Season the exposed tomato flesh with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the fresh basil.
Cover the top of the tomato with the provolone (or another favorite cheese, smoked Gouda would be yummy)
Place in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.
Use the broiler to finish the dish and to give the cheese a golden brown.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes