It’s that time of year again when my garden and our local tailgates are overwhelmed with tomatoes. These last few weeks we have had a glorious production of cherokee purple, sun gold cherry and plum tomatoes. Since we have been eating them in salads, as a salad, in fresh tomato sauce and any number of other ways, I decided to experiment with oven roasting them. I drizzled approximately 2 Tbsp of olive oil onto a rimmed baking pan. I then tossed in some fresh thyme and oregano. I halved a variety of tomatoes in similar size and placed them on the baking pan in a single layer. I roasted them in a 325 degree oven for about 2 hours. They just need to be soft and wilty. I placed them in mason jars and refrigerated. They will keep this way for about a week and can be frozen.
Tomatoes prepared this way are divine! The best way to devour these sweet and lovely treats is on good crusty bread. My husband likes his bread grilled with a little olive oil. Crumble on some good goat cheese, pour a glass of wine and enjoy a piece of heaven.
Unfortunately, this is not really breakfast fare and I was determined to use these tomatoes in a dish at our Asheville Bed and Breakfast. My own favorite breakfast always includes eggs and tomatoes so a frittata seemed the best way to highlight the intense flavor of these tomatoes. Of course good local crusty bread could also be served with this meal. If you can’t roast your own, your local specialty grocer should have them and if necessary you could substitute sun dried tomatoes packed in oil. You will need a deep 10 inch oven safe saute pan. I prefer cast iron but any oven ready pan will do.
I decided to create an oven roasted tomato, smoked mozzarella and basil frittata. I served this to guests (guinea pigs) last week who could not stop raving about how good it tasted or how pretty the plate looked. So this morning I decided to make it again and take pictures as I prepared it. I also took pictures of the guests but promised not to show them. One guest suggested I take a picture of his empty plate as he scarfed down the last bite….thus the last photo. My thoughts were that I’d write a blog and include the recipe with photos. As I loaded the pictures onto my computer I realized I could turn the photos into a video. Please understand if you watch the video …it has no sound and was published and edited by an amateur. ..me.
The great thing about frittatas is they are easy and quick to make. More importantly you can put almost anything in them. I used smoked mozzarella because I thought it would marry well with the tomatoes and it melts incredibly well. It has that gooey effect and does not completely disappear. Another good cheese would be goat cheese. We have the most amazing local cheese farms in and around Asheville. I am particularly fond of Three Graces Dairy and Spinning Spider Creamery. Next I am going to make a frittata with chives and goat cheese, from one of these farms. My kids want me to make a ham and swiss without the tomatoes ….we’ll see.
I could eat tomatoes everyday this time of year. To me the saddest part of summer ending is the end of fresh tomatoes from my garden. Please come visit our Asheville Inn and let us feed you well. For more information call 888-811-3053 or visit www.pinecrestbb.com.
Oven Roasted Tomato, Smoke Mozzarella Cheese and Basil Frittata
1 Tbsp olive oil
½ Tbsp unsalted butter
1/3 cup roughly chopped roasted tomatoes in oil
2 shallots sliced thin or small yellow onion
½ cup cubed smoked mozzarella
7 eggs beaten
¾ cup milk
Handful fresh basil chopped
Salt and fresh ground pepper
Heat oil and butter. Add shallots and sauté until soft and golden. Mix egg, milk, basil and pinch of salt and fresh pepper. Pour egg mixture over shallots. Sprinkle in cheese and tomatoes. Cook over medium for approximately 5 minutes or until sides look set. Put in 375 degree oven for 15 minutes or until firm. Let it sit for 5 minutes and serve.