Nigel Slater's Parmesan Tomatoes
English cookbook author Nigel Slater reminds me a bit of Marcella Hazan. Like Hazan, Slater is adamant that he’s a cook, not a chef, and he’s a champion of simple, straightforward home cooking. The American edition of his book, Tender: A Cook and His Vegetable Patch (Ten Speed Press) came out recently, and it deserves a place in your cookbook collection. His signature unfussy approach lets the flavor of seasonal produce really shine. Roasting summer-fresh tomatoes heightens their sweetness and deepens their flavor. Slater recommends serving these as a side dish with fresh mozzarella or basmati rice. They’re equally delightful served over sliced baguette as an appetizer or light lunch.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut tomatoes in half. Place them, cut side up, in a baking dish large enough to hold them a single snug layer. Drizzle oil over tomatoes. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and a generous grinding of pepper. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake 25-30 minutes or until the tomatoes are soft and the cheese is slightly crisp. Garnish with basil.
(Adapted from Tender: A Cook and His Vegetable Patch by Nigel Slater.)