Since 1926, the Agricultural Review has been a free newspaper published by the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. For many years, The Tar Heel Kitchen was a featured column written by the department’s marketing home economist. These recipes tended to be seasonal with just a handful of ingredients. We thought these recipes needed to be shared in a new format. The Tar Heel Kitchen post will unearth a few of these timeless recipes each month. This week we are revisiting the Sept. 1, 1987, issue and a recipe easy recipe for baked tomatoes.
“Whether sliced on a bacon sandwich, baked in a bread pudding, or stuffed with homemade chicken salad, sun-ripened tomatoes have a fresh flavor that is hard to beat,” said Barbara “Babs” Wilkinson, former NCDA&CS home economist.
In the summer months and winding down into fall, tomatoes are readily available in North Carolina. The state produces more than 85 million pounds of fresh-market tomatoes yearly. And this number doesn’t include all those delicious tomatoes growing in our neighbors’ gardens.
Most of us probably have a few favorite ways to enjoy summer tomatoes. That favorite way might be just sprinkled with a little salt and pepper. Below is a classic recipe for tomatoes au gratin, this hearty dish might even trick your kids into enjoying tomatoes as much as you.
This recipe was a hit in our test kitchen and very easy to make. It would pair well with grilled or baked chicken and fresh-snapped green beans. Wilkinson recommends using tomatoes held at room temperature until fully ripe for best results.
Baked Tomatoes Au Gratin
- 2 pounds tomatoes
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¾ teaspoon oregano leaves, crushed
- 1/16 teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ cup soft bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
Pre-heat oven to 350-degrees. Cut tomatoes into 1-inch cubes (makes about 4 cups); place in medium bowl. Add salt, oregano and black pepper; mix well. Place in a greased shallow 1-quart casserole dish. Cover and bake until tomatoes are almost softened, about 20 minutes. Combine bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and butter. Sprinkle over tomatoes. Bake, uncovered, until bread crumbs are browned, about 10 minutes. Yield: 4 servings