It’s August, after all, so the problem of too many tomatoes is, well, a problem, especially if you grow your own. Even if you don’t, with so many varieties available —and you know you want to try them all — just one more recipe for tomatoes is never one too many.
SLOW-ROASTED TOMATO AND GOAT CHEESE CHARLOTTE
Slow-roasting tomatoes gives them a rich flavor that adds depth to salads, tarts, and to this soufflé-like dish made with goat cheese. This dish is an invention of Chef Denis Cotter, proprietor of the more than 20-year-long established Café Paradiso in Cork City. He once called vegetables like tomatoes “the heroes of the season” when they’re at the peak of their flavor and prominent on his menu. He offered this recipe to me years ago, and I love it so much I included it in my Favorite Flavors of Ireland cookbook. He suggests serving it with wilted greens like sautéed spinach, but you can also serve it with a small salad of mixed greens dressed tossed with your favorite vinaigrette dressing
6 large beefsteak tomatoes
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Olive oil for brushing
3 garlic cloves
16 ounces goat cheese, at room temperature
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature
2 large eggs
3 large egg whites
1/3 to 1/2 cup half-and-half
4 to 5 fresh basil leaves, chopped
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Fresh basil leaves, for garnish
1. Roast tomatoes. Preheat oven to 250° F. Lightly brush 2 baking sheets with olive oil.
Cut each tomato horizontally into 3 thick slices. Place on prepared pans, season with salt and pepper, and brush with olive oil. Roast, turning once, for 60 to 75 minutes, or until partly dried and slightly caramelized. Remove from oven.
2. Make filling. Increase oven temperature to 375° F. Butter 6 (8 ounce) ramekins and line bottom of each with a round of wax paper.
3. Combine garlic, goat cheese, cream cheese, and eggs in a food processor and process for 1 to 2 minutes, or until smooth. With machine running, add egg whites, 1 at a time, and process for 30 seconds, or until blended. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl and stir in enough half-and-half to give a thick pouring consistency. Stir in basil and pepper.
4. Put a tomato slice into bottom of each ramekin and top with a tablespoon of cheese mixture; repeat process twice to make 3 layers in each ramekin.
5. Place dishes in a roasting pan filled with enough hot water to come halfway up sides of dishes. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until set in center. Remove pan from oven and let dishes sit in the pan for 5 minutes.
6. To serve, run a sharp knife around sides of the dishes to loosen and invert onto 6 salad plates; return to upright and serve immediately with salad. Garnish with basil leaves.
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