On a weekly visit to a local farm stand down the road, there were plates of fried tomatoes being passed around to visitors and guests.
If there was such a thing as kindness making food taste better, than it happened with those tomatoes. The farmers said that giving away the first tomatoes of the season is said to bring good luck.
In an effort to continue the tomato kindness, I offered my first batch of sungold tomatoes to a neighbor. I imagined this occasion to be accompanied by a detailed discussion about the different varieties of heirloom tomatoes and their distinct flavor profiles and painterly hues among the likes of ponderosa pink, Cherokee purple, green zebra and of course, sungolds.
I proudly presented my homegrown sunbursts, only to be cut short with…
“I don’t like that kind”
“You don’t like sunburst tomatoes? “ I asked. But they are sun.burst. A burst of sun! How is it even possible to dislike something with a name like sunburst?
While my toddler was in the grass doing a combination of worm hunting and tomato squishing, she noticed the stunned look on my face, as if I had just witnessed a great tragedy, and she said in a very zen fashion,
“We all like different things, Mom. It’s Ok”.
And she is absolutely right.
Having said that, I think you will absolutely love these barely fried tomatoes. I added a thin slice of fresh mozzarella to a batch, and it was transformed into a heavenly version of a grilled cheese, minus the bread.
Fried Tomato Towers with Mozzarella
A few really great tomatoes, sliced on the thick side
About ¾ cup of bread crumbs
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
Fresh parsley or basil
A pat or two of butter
Mozzarella slices (optional)
Mix the breadcrumbs with Parmesan cheese and herbs. Melt the butter in a cast iron skillet. Drizzle a little olive oil on the tomato slices and dredge in a bowl of the breadcrumb mixture. Gently place them in the pan and saute for 1-2 minutes on medium heat, or when the breadcrumbs start to get crispy and browned. Flip them over and top with optional mozzarella.
Layer the slices on top of each other and top with a few shaves of Parmesan and a soft sprinkle of salt and pepper.