Tomatoes on the grill are a great way to enjoy summer's favorite vegetables or fruit, or... tomatoes. It's true that tomatoes are fruits, botanically speaking, and it shows in their soft texture. You can still grill them, but it does help to be aware of which type of tomato you're grilling. In general, you want to use tomatoes that are firm when ripe, such as Early Girls, for grilling, since softer varieties have a tendency to fall apart when exposed to heat.
While perfectly ripe tomatoes are good to grill, grilling can heighten and add flavor to less-than-perfect specimens, too. Plus, the juicy brightness of grilled tomatoes adds a great note to a platter of grilled vegetables, any combination of which are good hot or at room temperature, making them a great choice for easy entertaining, since they can be done before anyone shows up at the door or in the yard.
This recipe is as much a technique as a recipe, so feel free to experiment with additional flavors or sauces. Obviously, you can grill as many or as few tomatoes as you like and the grill at hand will hold.
Want to jazz things up? You'll find some tasty sauces at the end of the recipe perfect for drizzling on grilled tomatoes if you want to dress them up a bit.
- Heat a charcoal or gas grill to medium-high heat (it should be hot enough so you can hold your hand about 1 inch above the cooking grate for 3 to 4 seconds before pulling it away from the heat).
- Cut the tomatoes in half crosswise (imagine the tomatoes are globes; cut them along the “equator”). Lay the tomato halves cut-side-up on a large baking sheet or tray. Brush the cut sides with olive oil and sprinkle them with salt.
- Lay the tomatoes oiled-side-down on the grill. Close the lid if using a gas grill. Cook until grill marks appear on the tomatoes, about 5 minutes.
- Brush the other sides with oil and sprinkle them with salt. Turn the tomato halves over, close the lid on a gas grill and cook until grill marks appear on the other side, about 5 more minutes.
- Use tongs or a spatula to transfer the tomatoes back to the baking sheet or onto a servings platter.
Serve grilled tomatoes hot or at room temperature.
These sauces are a great way to add easy extra flavor to simple grilled tomatoes: