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Author Notes: During my "vegan phase" in high school, which lasted the better part of two years, my mom used to serve these to me all the time. It wasn't until years later—as a full-blown omnivore—that I learned that she (definitely not a vegan) would sneak extra butter into them to make sure I ate enough butter (which is a health concern most people do not consider). But how else could they be so delicious?? —Leslie Stephens
- 5 firm, ripe tomatoes
- 4 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup coarse, dried bread crumbs
- 6 small basil leaves, chopped
- Peel and core tomatoes. Cut in half, placing cut side down in gratin dish (snugly). Drizzle with olive oil, season generously with salt and pepper.
- Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over tomatoes. Bury basil leaves in spaces between tomatoes. Melt butter and toss with bread crumbs. Sprinkle over and between tomatoes.
- Bake tomatoes, uncovered, at 375° for 30 min. Serve warm or at room temperature.