Grilled green tomatoes are the perfect accompaniment for summer. This version combines the slightly acidic flavor of the little mature tomatoes with the smoked coal of the grill and a little beaten goat cheese to start. For a long time a southern basic element in famous dishes such as fried green tomatoes, green tomatoes are equally delicious in this lighter and more healthy preparation. Serve them with other southern inspiration recipes, such as fried okra, Nashville spicy chicken and shoofly cake, to enjoy the complete flavor of the southern United States.
Green tomatoes are appreciated for more than their beautiful pale color: they have a firm texture and a slightly acidic flavor, which makes them perfect for the grill. It is looking for tomatoes that are green because they are not yet completely mature, unlike a tomato that is green when it is ready to eat, like a Green Zebra tomato. Perhaps the best part of green tomatoes is that many months of the year are available, from May in the south to the end of autumn in the north.
For the Schmear of beaten goat cheese, you will want to use a soft chèvre style cheese. There are only 2 tablespoons. of thick cream to lighten the cheese while maintaining its integrity as an anchor for tomatoes.
- 4 medium green tomatoes (about 2 lb. total), sliced ½” thick
- 2 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, divided
- 3/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, divided
- 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for grill and drizzling
- 4 oz. goat cheese, softened
- 2 tbsp. heavy cream
- Zest of 1 lemon (about 2 tsp.)
- 1/2 tsp. agave or honey
- 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes, plus more for garnish
- 1/2 c. fresh basil leaves
- Flaky sea salt, optional
- Season tomatoes on both sides with 1 tsp. kosher salt and ½ tsp. black pepper. Drizzle with 1 tbsp. oil. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, mix goat cheese, cream, lemon zest, agave, red pepper flakes, and remaining 1 tbsp. oil, 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, and 1/4 tsp. black pepper until well combined. Spread on a platter or plate.
- Preheat a gas grill to high; clean and oil grates. Grill tomatoes until well-charred but not overly soft, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
- Arrange tomatoes over goat cheese mixture. Drizzle with oil, then top with basil, sea salt, if using, and red pepper flakes.