As we get closer to the end of summer, I always get a little emotional. As my previous blog on blueberries proved, I love the act of picking my own produce. My favorite summertime places include a good farmer’s market, roadside stand and most of all, my garden.
I started gardening about ten years ago. It was actually a fluke and an experiment. My Italian great grandfather was the kind of gardener that would put things in the ground and food would grow. If there is a gene for gardening, I feel that I inherited it from him. Over the years, his spirit has been my guide to success.
What started as a small box garden in front of my kitchen window has expanded to multiple vegetable garden plots around various sections of my house. Each year, I “branch out” a little more and try different vegetables. I’ve grown everything from cucumbers to eggplants to broccoli to shishito peppers to every kind of squash.
The one thing I always plant each year in great excess is tomatoes. (I think I could use a tomato plant intervention next spring.). One of our friends has a farm and generously kept giving me plants. I stopped accepting seedlings after I ran out of tomato cages, 20 to be exact.
My lack of self-control turned into a lovely crop that has been producing somewhere between 5-7 pounds of tomatoes daily. This bounty has allowed me to make pasta sauces, salsas, and soups galore! A BLT with a sun kissed tomato is probably one of the best sandwiches in the world.
With this abundance, tomatoes became part of my menu morning, noon and night. Noon and night meals were easy to innovate but morning proved to be a challenge. How do you make the tomato a star at breakfast?
To my shock, it was easy. You roast it and add an egg. Simple and delicious, and the best part was, I only dirtied one dish!
The key to your morning breakfast tomato success was almost effortless, but I did learn a couple tricks to make it better.
Pick the right tomato. You want something that is round and small. By small, I mean larger than a golf ball but not as big as a tennis ball. Campari tomatoes are probably the ones most available in the market. Anything between 2-4 ounces works great.
It should be ripe but not soft. You want it to keep a round shape as it roasts so it doesn’t turn to mealy mush.
Here’s the Scoop
To prepare the tomato, slice off the top where the stem is located. Use a small spoon and scoop out the remaining part of the stem. You don’t want to completely core it out or dump out the juices.
I made a circle of croutons to hold the tomato. It makes a great base plus as the tomato roasts the croutons absorb any juices that flow out of the tomato. I tried a toast float also but found the croutons are easier to eat after everything is cooked.
Season the tomato generously with salt and pepper.
The reason I love this recipe is because it is simple: 7 ingredients including the salt, pepper and olive oil.
There is no need to add bacon (I can’t believe I said that) or other veggies to the tomatoes. If you have a good in season tomato, enjoy the flavor by itself. If you must add to it, add some fresh herbs at the end.
You can make a few tomatoes at once in the roasting dish, but I have found I like them the best in individual ramekins.
The tomato is going to roast without the egg first. This allows the tomato to develop a some depth to its flavor.
After this initial roast, there will be some juice in the tomato. Use a small spoon and just help it spill over the sides onto the crotons. Do not dispose of it - this juice is so flavorful!
I crack the egg directly into the tomato.
Full disclosure: sometimes the eggs flops out!
Don’t despair and start over. It will still cook up deliciously if the yolk is broken or the egg went rogue. The only time it really matters is if you are taking pictures for a blog.
Everyone likes their eggs done differently. I have found if the whole egg is in the tomato, I need a longer time (like 10 minutes). This is long enough to set the white and still have a runny yolk. When I’ve broken the yolk and not hit the target, the time went down to 7 minutes and the egg is more of a scramble. Obviously, times will vary in your oven.
A pinch more of salt on the egg, some fresh herbs or even a sprinkle of your favorite Trader Joe’s mix and you’ve got breakfast.
I grab a little espresso spoon and stir it all up together. (Does spoon size matter? No, not to a normal person but I get immense joy out of eating with little spoons.) It isn’t very pretty after you do that but once you take the first bite, it won’t matter.
Roasted Tomato with Egg
Scroll down for a printable version of this recipe
Active time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 35-40 minutes
4 small equal sized tomatoes (about 3-4 ounces each)
4 fresh eggs
28 croutons (which was about a cup) croutons (You can use a toast square or a piece of crostini. I have found the croutons are easier to break up with your spoon.)
Salt & pepper (or red pepper if you are fiery)
- Heat oven to 400 degrees.
- Brush individual ramekins with a little olive oil.
- Place croutons in a flat circle leaving the center open.
- Slice the top off the tomatoes and gently scoop out the core.
- Balance the tomato on the croutons. Brush a little olive oil on the tomato and season with salt and pepper.
- Bake for 25 minutes.
- Carefully remove from oven.
- If there is excess juice in the tomato, use a spoon to help it overflow onto the croutons.
- Break one egg into each tomato.
- Bake for 7-10 minutes.
- Season with salt, pepper and fresh herbs if desired.
If you enjoy a summer harvest like I do, The Chopping Block in Lincoln Square has a hands on Late Summer Harvest Class on September 17 at 6pm. And don’t forget to check out all of the great virtual classes that will continued to be offered online!