Grilled Tomatoes With Bracing Vinaigrette

July 21, 2021
3 Ratings
Photo by Melina Hammer
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 5 minutes
  • Serves 2-4
Author Notes

Think of this as a deconstructed, jammy panzanella. Grilled tomatoes are the perfect match for grilled bread. Tinges of char bring depth to everyone’s favorite summer fruit, rendering it extra sweet. The trick is to only grill the tomato slices on one side: Otherwise, they’ll quickly fall apart. Plus, it’s a thing of beauty to have one side blistered, the other slightly more acidic. Olive-oil-drizzled bread—ciabatta is great for its airy fluff, but you can swap in another loaf if you’d like—becomes crispy and earthy. Meanwhile, the bracing vinaigrette (garlic! mustard! lemon!) and bright alliums (crispy shallots! fresh scallion!) offer special oomph. Speaking of that mustard: Horseradish mustard is a condiment with just those two things: horseradish and mustard. If you can’t find it or don’t have any around, feel free to swap it out for a mixture of 2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard and 1 teaspoon of horseradish. You can all but guarantee the dish will be gobbled up in no time flat—bread dragged through the dressing and juices alike, rejoicing in the messy, outdoor foods of summer. —Melina Hammer

What You'll Need
  • Vinaigrette
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon horseradish mustard
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Grilled Tomatoes
  • Neutral cooking spray or oil, for grilling
  • 2 or 3 large beefsteak tomatoes, almost ripe but still slightly firm
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 loaf ciabatta
  • 2 tablespoons crispy shallots or onions, plus more to taste
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Using a mortar and pestle, mash the garlic into a rough paste. Add the lemon juice and continue to mash to yield a smooth paste. (If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, you can mince the garlic into a paste with a knife and cutting board, then add to a bowl with the lemon juice.)
  2. Scrape off any paste clinging to the pestle. Add the salt, pepper, mustard, and olive oil and whisk until emulsified, 2 to 3 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. Transfer to a jar, seal, and refrigerate. This step can be done 2 days in advance.
  3. If you have a gas grill, heat it to high, then lightly grease with neutral oil. If you have a charcoal grill, remove the grill grate and loosely bunch newspaper at the base of the chimney. Fill to the top with charcoal. Light the paper in a few places, which will ignite the charcoal. Burn until the flames subside: After about 10 minutes, the coals should begin to glow, turning gray and becoming ashen at their edges. Transfer the hot charcoal into a pile at the center of the grill for direct grilling. Replace the grate and lightly grease with neutral oil.
  4. Slice the tomatoes horizontally into ½-inch-thick slabs. Pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil onto a sheet pan. Coat all the tomato slices in oil, then sprinkle with salt.
  5. Slice the ciabatta lengthwise into two. Cut one side into four equal pieces. Save the remaining side for another use. Drizzle olive oil onto all the cut sides of the ciabatta (leave the crusty outside dry). Set on the sheet pan next to the tomato slices.
  6. Place some tomato slices directly above the heat, as many as will comfortably fit in a single layer. Grill the tomatoes undisturbed for 3 to 6 minutes, until the edges start to appear opaque and blistered. Use a spatula to transfer the grilled tomatoes to a serving platter. (Yes, we’re grilling only one side, which prevents them from falling apart.) Repeat with the remaining tomato slices.
  7. Once the tomatoes are done, grill the bread, cut side down, for 30 seconds to 1 minute, keeping an eye on them so that the pieces toast but don’t scorch. Transfer to another plate.
  8. Top the tomatoes with the vinaigrette, then scatter with the crispy shallots, sliced scallion, and a sprinkle of black pepper. Serve with the grilled bread for sopping up all the juices.

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  • Melina Hammer
    Melina Hammer
  • lindamain
Melina is the author of 'A Year at Catbird Cottage' with Ten Speed Press. She grows an heirloom and pollinator garden and forages wild foods at her namesake Hudson Valley getaway, Catbird Cottage. Melina loves serving curated menus for guests from near and far seeking community amidst the hummingbirds, grosbeaks, finches, and the robust flavors of the seasons.

2 Reviews

lindamain July 22, 2021
i've tried them with a good wine bought on a... no ways, absolute wonderful! thanks for the idea!
Melina H. July 22, 2021
Very cool. Happy to share ideas worth eating!