In the United Kingdom, and in Ireland, it seemed that I couldn’t go anywhere without baked or broiled tomato halves on my breakfast plate. It didn’t matter whether I ate at hotels, bed & breakfast inns or at the occasional pub.
After my last trip I actually began to like the odd baked tomato. I began experimenting with toppings for the tomatoes, as a plain-broiled tomato just wasn’t my cup of tea. The tastiest tomatoes I found were in London and had a breadcrumb topping. So I concentrated on producing something similar. What I came up with was a savory Panko bread crumb topping with a hint of finely grated English Cheshire cheese.
Cheshire is made using vegetarian rennet and pasteurized cow’s milk. The taste and flavor of the cheese develops with ripening. Young Cheshire is firm, crumbly and white in color. It is mild, milky and aromatic leaving behind a slightly tangy aftertaste on the palette.
If you can’t find it locally, you can easily substitute grated Parmesan cheese. The flavor won’t be quite the same, but it will be tasty.
¼ cup grated Parmesan
¼ cup Panko bread crumbs
½ teaspoon dried oregano
A pinch of garlic powder
A pinch of salt
A pinch of freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 medium tomatoes (cored and sliced in half horizontally)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, combine cheese, oregano, salt, and pepper and garlic powder. Add olive oil and stir to form a moist mixture.
Arrange tomato halves, face side up, on the baking sheet. Spread the cheese/breadcrumb mixture on top of each half, dividing the mixture evenly among the 8 halves. Use your fingertips to press the crumbs into an even layer.
Bake until tomatoes are soft and topping begins to brown, about 20 minutes. Serve warm from the oven.