Fresh sliced tomatoes topped with a trio of cheeses and baked until irresistibly hot and gooey. The acidic bite of the tomato is balanced by the mildness of ricotta, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese(s). The Italian-American holy trinity of cheese.
Big tomatoes like beefsteak work best here. Thick slices are drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper before being smeared with a thick layer of Ricotta cheese and a pile of shredded mozzarella plus a little sprinkling of Italian seasoning.
They take all of ten minutes to bake and then they’re briefly broiled to caramelize the mozzarella. Parmesan cheese and fresh basil or oregano finishes them off.
They make a great side dish, appetizer or lunch alongside a green salad. I was imagining all the things I could do with them – use them as a burger topper, a pizza topping, to make bruschetta or to stuff in a grilled cheese.
Truth is I’ll probably never do anything of those things with them. They’re pretty near perfect all on their own and they smell so good you can’t help but dig right in the moment they come out of the oven.
Maybe that’s just me. After all the anticipation, the build-up, the planning and shopping for ingredients. Seeing all that come to fruition makes me impatient. And leads to lots of burnt lips.
Maybe that’s just me.
2 - 3 large tomatoes like beefsteak, about 12 (1/2-inch thick) slices
salt and pepper
15 ounces ricotta (preferably impastata ricotta)
1 heaping cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoon fresh grated Parmesan cheese
fresh basil or oregano, for serving
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Grease a large baking sheet with olive oil.
Place the tomato slices, not touching, on the baking sheet. Drizzle each one with olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
Top each one with about 2 tablespoons of ricotta and spread it out leaving a border around the edges.
Top the ricotta with a heaping tablespoon mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle lightly with Italian seasoning.
Bake 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and heat the broiler. Broil 1 - 2 minutes on the center rack until the mozzarella lightly browns.
Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and top with fresh basil or oregano to serve.