Simple, summery and a great little appetizer with a salty parmesan bowl of its own, these Heirloom Tomato Caprese Frico Cups make singing the swan song to summer a little easier.
With the long days turning shorter and my summer escapes coming to a quick end, I’ve been weaning my cravings for simple summer recipes and tank top wearing tan lines and replacing them with thoughts of long oven braises and pulling an ear hugging beanie over my chilly head as I search through my closet for those knit gloves I bought last year that have the touchy things on the tips of the fingers so I can still use my iPhone once the weather turns cold. Those things are genius.
Fall flavors are giving summer bounty a bit of a shove off and I’m not sure how sad I am about it.
Maybe that’s because my garden SUCKS this summer. With a capital S.U.C.K.S.
My stringy and nearly leafless heirloom tomato plants—the ones I was so excited to cultivate so I could pluck juicy mater orbs straight from the vine and take a big old bite out of their still warm flesh—are as lifeless and lilting as a 6 foot, 95-pound fashion model prepping for her fall debut on the catwalk.
Straight up sad I tell you.
And what’s worse is no matter how hard I try, my tomato loving cravings for recipes like Heirloom Tomato BLTs, Pasta with Marinated Tomatoes and my fave weeknight freshie of Avocado, Onion and Tomato Salad have not ebbed the tide. And last year’s post of 55 Fresh and Tasty Tomato Recipes? This year, it’s been a question if I would make it to 56.
The thing I love about heirloom tomatoes is how imperfect they are. Let’s just say I can relate. Some are on the pudgy side with a too-tight-in-the-jeans muffin top, some are are cracked and crooked. And for most the color is never quite the same so slicing them to see the rainbow of color inside is always a fun surprise.
While walking through the grocery store veggie department the other day, I spied the heirloom tomatoes. Big, juicy and ready to slice, a far cry from our bereft leaning-towers-of-never-to-bear-fruit at home. We fondled several of the larger heirloom varieties, speculating what color spectrum might be hidden inside.
While I love the largess of the standard heirlooms and can nearly taste the bite of fresh mozzarella with basil and olive oil just by looking at them, the little bitties are the guys that get me every time.
Sweet, juicy and perfect for a little bite of their own. I didn’t have to think twice. These babies were coming home with me.
Olive oil and kosher salt and pepper are standard toppers for heirlooms in most everyone’s book, but this time around I eschewed the balsamic and went with a squeeze of lemon juice, a bit of zest and a simple handful of flat leaf parsley.
To layer a bit more of a mediterranean taste I added some thinly sliced roasted red bell pepper left over in the fridge and added a salty smack to the lot with capers, my favorite salad addition.
But the real treat was when I upped the ante and baked up some little frico cups to serve my little tomato salad in. I used my biscuit cutter as my guide and let the oven do its magic. Be sure to work quickly when you bake these puppies, they crisp up super quick as soon as they’re pulled out of the oven so a fast slight of hand is definitely a must.
Who needs a bowl, a fork or a spoon when you can use a parmesan vessel with a salty crunch instead? Smudge gave it another thumbs up and totally agrees that this makes it way more fun to play with your food. What a surprise.
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Heirloom Tomato Caprese Frico Cups
For Heirloom Tomato Salad
- 1 pound cherry heirloom tomatoes quartered
- 1/3 cup roasted red bell pepper thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons capers
- 1/4 cup roughly chopped parsley leaves
- 1/2 small lemon juiced and zested
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- goat cheese crumbles for garnish
For Frico Cups
- 2 cups grated parmesan cheese
- zest of 1 small lemon
For Heirloom Tomato Salad
Toss tomatoes, roasted red bell pepper slices, capers and parsley leaves in a large bowl with the olive oil, lemon juice and lemon zest. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.
Fill the parmesan frico cups with about 1/4 cup of the tomato mixture and garnish with more salt and pepper if desired and goat cheese crumbles. Serve at room temperature.
For the Frico Cups
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Mix the parmesan cheese and the lemon zest in a small bowl.
Place a Silpat mat on a rimmed baking sheet. Using at 2 1/2 inch biscuit cutter, drop 1 slightly rounded tablespoon of the cheese mixture on the Silpat, tapping cheese lightly to form a circle. Place 6 total circles on the baking sheet with 2 inches between each row.
Bake the rounds for 8 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly. Working quickly and while frico is still hot, transfer the rounds with spatula or knife to a muffin tin and gently press into the tins. If the rounds become too cool and brittle, place back in the hot oven for a minute so the frico becomes pliable again, remove and quickly move to the tins.
Let the frico cool in the tins for 3-5 minutes and remove. Repeat process with the rest of the parmesan.
*If you have extra frico cups, break into chunks and add to your favorite dinner salad or pasta.
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