Monday, August 27, 2012
Tomato basil casserole
This time of year the tomatoes are plentiful and beautifully ripened right on the vine. Basil is lush and green. Garlic is drying in braids and boxes. It is cool enough on occasion to turn the oven on and still survive in the kitchen.
Spin freshly sliced tomatoes and washed basil leaves in a salad spinner to remove excess moisture and seeds.
Put a layer of tomatoes and than scatter some cooked meat, if making this as a one dish meal. We used ground bison. Then layer lots of basil leaves. The hubster was helping, so we kinda did both steps at once.
Saute some garlic in the grease from the meat. Sprinkle it on the casserole.
I love cheese! I used a generous amount of my strongly-flavored grating feta, nice and sharp and salty. I don't use salt when using this, so I just used a generous sprinkle of black pepper. You can use cheese in this layer or not. It will still work out just fine.
Add another thick layer of tomato slices.
Top it with cheese. Mozzarella here. Shredded would be fine. It will all melt down either way.
We dove in before remembering to take a picture! Note the juiciness. Imagine how much liquid there would be if I hadn't removed a couple of cups with the salad spinner. The dogs LOVED this broth.
Bake this at 375 F for about half an hour or until the cheese is starting to brown. You can sneak some greens into this as well....very thinly sliced baby zucchini are nice, as are cooked greens such as chard, collards, or spinach. Layer the greens in the middle, between the layers of tomatoes. Truly a one dish meal, or leave out the meat and use it as a vegetable side dish. Be forewarned, though, everyone will want seconds!