Roasting tomatoes is a delicious way to use them at their summer peak, like in this steak recipe

Seared Steak and Roasted Goat Cheese Tomatoes. Photos by Michelle Stark, Times Food Editor.
Seared Steak and Roasted Goat Cheese Tomatoes. Photos by Michelle Stark, Times Food Editor.
Published August 7 2018

Sometimes I spend hours in the kitchen working on new recipes, starting with a kernel of an idea and playing with it a bit, adding stuff here and tweaking stuff there. Other times, I shamelessly steal recipe ideas from my friends.

My husband and I were hanging out with another couple recently (hi, John and Hillary!), and the talk turned to food, as it often does. They mentioned a dish they had recently meal prepped for work: steak with roasted tomatoes. The inspiration came from a restaurant in his hometown of Pensacola.

I was intrigued by the roasted tomatoes, especially because it’s summer, when tomatoes are at their best. The specialty grocery stores I frequent are displaying colorful, knobby heirloom tomatoes right now, and I couldn’t resist picking up a couple.

I rarely think to roast tomatoes, but every time I do, it’s like a revelation. They turn wonderfully sweet and soft, the middle point between raw tomatoes and something more saucy. The original recipe topped the tomatoes with blue cheese, but my friends switched it to Parmesan. I went with another kind, goat cheese, because it was what I had in my fridge the first time I made it. The second time, I added goat and a fresh grating of Parmesan on top. I liked the combination of the cheeses better; the goat got all melty and gooey, and the Parmesan provided a sharper flavor.

Steak is the other component here, but it’s more of a vessel for these exquisite tomatoes. You could sub chicken if you want, but I don’t think something like pork would work as well. Steak provides a strong meaty counterpart. I used a filet mignon, only because Earth Fare had them on sale for $6 per filet recently. Opt for a cheaper cut if you want, whatever kind of steak you like.

Use more tomatoes than you think you’ll need, because they cook down quite a bit in the oven. Cut them on the thicker side, for the same reason. I used two whole tomatoes for two servings.

If you make even more roasted tomatoes than you can eat with this dish, here are a couple of ideas for how to use them:

• Stir them into a risotto or other rice or grain dish. They’ll add some nice flavor and color.

• Add them to a salad instead of raw tomatoes.

• How about a BL(roasted)T? Try assembling a sandwich of thick-cut bacon, crunchy lettuce and your roasted tomatoes. Go really nuts and add a layer of avocado.

• Roasted tomatoes add just a bit more oomph to things like homemade salsa.

Seared Steak and Roasted Goat Cheese Tomatoes

2 medium tomatoes, preferably heirloom

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

2 steaks, around 6 ounces (filet mignon, New York strip or sirloin)

3 cloves garlic, smashed or broken up into smaller pieces

2 ounces goat cheese

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Fresh thyme or rosemary, finely chopped

Heat a cast-iron skillet or other heavy-bottomed pan on the stovetop over medium-high heat. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Slice tomatoes into about ½-inch slices, keeping them on the thicker side so they are nice and sturdy. Place on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and sprayed liberally with cooking spray.

Drizzle olive oil atop the tomatoes, then season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for about 5 minutes while you cook the steaks.

Pat steaks dry and season with salt and pepper on both sides. Place in the hot skillet and cook for about 3 minutes on each side until internal temperature reaches 150 degrees for a medium steak; adjust cooking time for an internal temperature of about 140 for medium rare and 165 for medium well. (Err on the side of undercooking it, because you can always throw it back on the skillet later.)

When steaks are done, transfer to a plate and let rest while you prepare the rest of the meal. Reduce heat to medium-low, and add garlic cloves and a drizzle of olive oil to skillet.

Check your tomatoes. They should be tender and slightly wilted. Remove baking sheet from oven and divide goat cheese evenly among the tomatoes, dabbing the cheese lightly on top of each tomato. Grate some fresh Parmesan cheese over the whole thing, enough to pretty much coat the tomatoes with a light layer of cheese. Transfer back to oven and turn on broil; broil for about 2 minutes with oven rack at least 6 inches from broiler, keeping a close eye so tomatoes don’t burn. Remove from oven and scoot tomatoes onto a plate.

Stir garlic in pan, adding about ¼ cup water to loosen up the bits left behind from cooking the steak. Season sauce with salt and pepper. Bring to a low boil for about 5 minutes.

Transfer steaks to serving plates, top with tomatoes and a drizzle of garlic sauce and sprinkle with fresh herbs.

Serves 2.

Source: Michelle Stark, Tampa Bay Times