The most instant appetizer, pasta sauce or bruschetta topping you can make in the fall is out of halved tomatoes. If you don’t have herbs or herb paste on hand, use garlic and olive oil. There’s no shame in making this even simpler.

This is a classic side dish and was such a staple in fine dining that it’s easy to dismiss it. But then, one autumn day, you sit down for a quick lunch and… it re-enters as a revelation.

Makes: 8 portions
Keeps: 3 days
Time: 22 minutes

Herb Paste
Parmesan Crisps
Parmesan Puff Pastry

4 medium tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 cup herb paste
Salt and pepper to taste
1 TBSP olive oil

3 tsp = 1 TBSP
2 TBSP = 1 ounce
1 cup = 8 oz
1 cup = 1/2 pint
4 cups = 1 quart
4 quarts = 1 gallon
16 cups – 1 gallon

Heat oven to 400 F
Coat the bottom of a roasting pan with olive oil
Plate tomatoes cut side up in roasting pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper
Place a tablespoon of herb paste on each tomato
Bake tomatoes for 20 minutes or until tender

Garnish with Parmesan
It’s a wonderful thing to make a whole sheet pan of these and save them off for later dishes like pasta sauces and pizza topping.

Serve chilled as an antipasti with a dry martini. Parmesan Crisps are the perfect counterbalance of texture and flavor.