From Foe To Friend – Baked Tomatoes With Cilantro

I never really liked tomatoes as a kid.  Being a picky child growing up, unless it was in Heinz 57 or Ragu form chances were I would not be a fan.  To be fair, the tomato plant started this cold, unamaciable relationship when it decided to give me hives.  My mother had a small vegetable (and tomato) garden in our backyard and one day while my sister and I were playing we somehow ended up in the garden and next thing I know I’m breaking out in itchy bumps with absolutely no idea what’s going on.  Tomatoes fired the first shot.

Tomato Sliced Tomatoes

Fast forward to present day and the tomato and I are best buds; hanging out, making soups, playing catch (i like to throw ball-shaped food up in the air.  i usually catch it), having a good time.  I friggin’ love tomatoes now and do not mind saying that I will, on occasion, eat this noble fruit like an apple.  Oh, if only the old me could take a gander now.

Ready For Slathering!

This is a nice simple recipe that would work well as a no-fuss side dish.  You could easily be prepare this, set it aside, and pop it in the oven when the timing works with everything else on the dinner menu.  I opted for dried cilantro simply because I had it and I hate buying fresh herbs when I know I’ll only use a small fraction and the rest will slowly whither and die in my fridge (so much anger….).  Feel free to go the fresh route if so inclined; just use two tablespoons rather than two teaspoons.

Baked Tomatoes With Cilantro

Baked Tomatoes With Cilantro
Be sure to serve this directly from the baking dish, as the tomatoes will be very soft.

4 tomatoes (approximately 2 pounds; maybe a bit less); cut into 1/4 inch slices
5 cloves of garlic; minced
2 teaspoons dried cilantro
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne (much less if you’re a spice wuss such as moi)
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 350°.

Lightly oil a glass baking pan and layer your tomato slices as shown in the photograph above. Combine your remaining ingredients and spread/smother/slather atop the tomatoes. I recommend just using one of your (clean! you wash before cooking, right?) hands to mix and distribute. Simple with a bit of salt and pepper, then bake for 25 minutes. Serve in the baking dish and enjoy.