We often think of tomatoes as a summer pleasure, but some of the best local fruits can be found in early fall. For these broiled tomatoes, we started with a simple Fannie Farmer recipe of tomato halves, breaded, seasoned with salt and pepper, and cooked under a broiler. Looking for a little more pizzazz for our broiled tomatoes, we added shallot, fresh herbs, and Parmesan to the breading and used this mixture as a filling, rather than a coating. The resulting dish is still simple, but prettier and zestier than the original. But as with Farmer’s recipe, we finish the tomatoes under the broiler for a crisp texture.
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3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large shallot, finely chopped
2 medium-size cloves garlic, minced
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs (from about 4 thick slices of day-old bread, crusts removed)
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 large tomatoes (about 1 3/4 pounds total)
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Preheat your oven to 375° and set one rack to the middle position and another to the upper third of the oven.
In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the shallot and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a medium-size bowl. Add the breadcrumbs to the shallot mixture and stir to combine. Add the parsley, thyme, Parmesan, and salt; stir.
Halve the tomatoes crosswise. Using a paring knife, cut a shallow round in the middle of the tomatoes to make room for the filling. Transfer to a baking sheet.
Divide the filling evenly among the tomatoes and drizzle with olive oil. Bake on the middle rack until the tomatoes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Place under the broiler to crisp the topping, just 1 to 2 minutes, or until golden-brown.