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Basic Grilled Tomatoes

The warm days of summer mean it's time to uncover the grill and fire it up to cook some of the most delicious foods of the season. In this basic recipe, we grill tomatoes to sweet perfection. You can serve them as a side dish or as a totally creative addition to any salad. 

Ingredients

6 medium size firm tomatoes (about 2 pounds total)
sea salt
1-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 clove fresh garlic, finely minced
1 shallot, finely minced
generous pinch ground black pepper
1-2 sprigs fresh basil, finely shredded

Directions 
Fire up the grill 15-20 minutes before ready to grill, so that the heat is quite high. Remove any green stems from the tomatoes, but do not core or cut into the tomato. Put the whole tomatoes on the wire grate and grill, turning occasionally, until the skins crack and begin to blacken in places. The tomatoes will soften in 12-15 minutes on a gas grill. Keep turning to char evenly.

Whisk together the balance of ingredients to create a smooth vinaigrette dressing. To serve, slice the grilled tomatoes in half lengthwise. Arrange them, cut side up on a platter and drizzle dressing over top. Serve immediately. Makes about 6 servings.

Note: You can also coarsely chop the grilled tomatoes and saute them in olive oil, with a bit of crushed red pepper flakes to create a most delicious chunky pasta sauce. Simply spoon over pasta and serve garnished with fresh basil.

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