Here it is—Summer's Best Baked Tomato dish.
It's tomato love time, and if you have the love, and are almost tired of Caprese and other raw tomato dishes, give this baked tomato casserole a whirl. I first tasted it at a potluck, where several people were drooling and swooning and smacking their lips and talking gibberish.
I think my friends Kelly and Dave brought it, made from their fresh Grants Pass, OR tomatoes. Anyway, it has become a summer highlight for PK and me. PK loves tomatoes so much that he eats them for lunch with mayo and maybe some cheese and then he's good until dinner, when tomato-something is the main dish. As of today, our first major harvest, tomatoes have taken over the kitchen and the back porch. Soon they will occupy the freezer and the pantry. And, of course, a top spot in our culinary hearts.
Summer's BEST Tomato CasseroleIngredients
3-4 large ripe tomatoes, more if tomatoes aren't notably large. I used 3 hyper Brandywines.
1/2 large onion
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups grated cheddar/jack or other cheeses
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil, plus whole leaves for topping beauty
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375
Use a 9X13 casserole dish, not aluminum. No need to grease the pan.
Trim and slice tomatoes and place in a colander to drain while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Thinly slice the onion. Use a cooking onion, not a sweet one such as Walla Walla.
Combine the cheeses with the mayo and chopped basil.
|Everything but the tomatoes.....before mixing.|
Layer the tomatoes and the sliced onion.
|At this stage, salt and pepper to taste. Next, add half the cheese/mayo/basil mixture.|
|Ready to pop into the oven with the second layer plus the basil-for-beauty effect. |
The chopped basil-for-flavor is mixed into the cheese/mayo combo.
Those big leaves are for show, which means they're optional.
|The entire dinner, left to right: heavenly baked tomato casserole; sauteed mixed veggies and chicken topped with chipotle sauce; fresh melon with diced spearmint; marinated cukes and onions. I love summer!!!|
|In the wings, the first of a 6-week tomato harvest ready for processing.|
Low Carb Notes
A fat-phobic vegetarian friend (I love her!) asked about vegetables and carbs. She said (something like) Don't all vegetables have carbs? If you're eating low carb, how can you eat so many vegetables?Yes, of course all veggies have carbs, but in varying proportions. Corn and potatoes explode with carbs, onions are kinda dangerous, and parsnips, turnips, beets, sweet potatoes, winter squash and others are to be consumed in moderation. But chard, broccoli, kale, zucchini, lettuces, and many other greenish veggies are low in carbs and can be heaped on the plate with lots of butter and/or salad dressing and consumed without guilt.
This is the low-fat/low-carb divide. You can eat a thick slice of bread or a baked potato without butter or sour cream or anything else to make it taste good. You will get a butt-load of carbs and a couple hours later, depending upon what else you ate, you'll get slammed with a blood sugar dive. And then you'll be hungry for more carbs. You may even get the shakes.
Conversely, you can load a plate with a mountain of greens, cooked or not, pile on cheese and/or meat, salad dressing, mayo, butter or other fat, and two hours later, you won't be hungry at all. In fact, it'll likely be five or six hours before you feel compelled to eat. The blood sugar highs and lows don't run the diet program, and they don't run your life.
As for tomatoes.....they seem to occupy the middle ground in carbiness. (thank you, Stephen Colbert, Mr. Truthiness) A small tomato, according to the Atkins chart has about 4.5 carbs. I'd guess the large Brandywines have at least 15 carbs - roughly equivalent to a slice of bread, minus the fiber in the tomatoes.
I'm not an expert, but have read a lot and done this low-carb thing for 10 years. This much I know. I will feel better and more satisfied (and weigh less) eating a huge tomato with a generous hunk of cheese or other fat than a sandwich of nearly any sort.