Cheese and Tomatoes Turn Savory in this Mid-Winter WinnerChicken / January 31, 2014
Only 16 degrees this morning. 16! Do you hear me? Yes, it has been well established that Southerners are wimps when it comes to weather. You hearty folks up in the northern states are definitely laughing your suspenders off at our folly. We declared a state of emergency over just 2 inches of snow and a little ice (although it only takes a little to make things just plain nasty!) while you plow through mountains of the white stuff, still arriving early for church.
Let’s face it. We are Oscar-worthy when it comes to drama, and this gave you a little smile to move the frigid muscles on your face to smile. So we are even.
Not that it makes any difference, but we didn’t go out to dinner last night for the same reason – TOO DANG COLD. And all I could think about was Summer, and how much I wished I was biting into a beautiful ripe tomato; their juices dripping seductively off my chin, the saltiness of the seeds tingling my tongue and the sweetness reminding me why they are a fruit and not a veggie. With that in mind, one of my favorite summer quick foods is grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches. Made with savory and sharp cheese that takes the yum factor off the charts, I live for every gooey, delightful bite as I crunch through the butter seared into the side of each piece of thick, billowy bread.
Hey, why not try this in a savory dish? I have a huge brick of English cheddar in my fridge and even a lackluster Roma tomato, shipped to me from heaven knows where in the middle of winter, could benefit from a little slow simmering and Italian seasonings. And so, after staging all my ingredients, blotting my chicken dry, and piling the cheese on a plate (sure, I snuck a shard or two that came off the side,) I started in. Boy did it come together quickly and easily. You have to add this to your week-night repertoire. In hindsight I’m glad I made it exactly the way I did. I decided against spiking it with garlic, or trying to enhance the cheese sauce with another bit of color or herb. I wanted my meal straight up.
This was a winner and I would serve it to friends at a party in a heartbeat. It’s pretty, packed with flavor and texture, warm and satisfying, and just the thing while watching the mayor of Atlanta apologize for their lack or storm-savvy, while cow-towing to a bunch of furious, Mercedes Driving parents. Awesome.