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Tomato Burgers with Basil Sauce



8 large vine-ripe tomatoes
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. basil pesto
1 cup grated Romano cheese or fresh mozzarella
1 Tbsp. mayonnaise
cooking spray
salt & pepper to taste


Boil water in a saucepot big enough to accommodate all the tomatoes. Remove the stems from the tomatoes and cut an “X” into the top of each. Blanch tomatoes for one minute, remove from pot and place in a bowl of ice water. Once cool, peel skin off each tomato.

Place one tomato at a time in a colander and squeeze all the juice out. The holes in the colander should be big enough to allow all the seeds go through. Squeeze the tomatoes very well so that there is no liquid left in them.

Lightly spray a sheet pan with cooking spray, and evenly space tomatoes on the pan. Dry in oven at 175° for about six hours. After two hours, check the tomatoes and remove any water that may have come out onto the pan. Check tomatoes every hour after that, turning the pan each time to ensure even drying. The tomatoes should still have some moisture in them after six hours.

Take a hamburger-sized ring form and place four tomatoes inside, squeezing them in tightly to form a “burger”. Keep in refrigerator overnight to allow any excess moisture to be removed.

To make the sauce, combine pesto with mayonnaise in a small bowl until well blended.

When you’re ready to cook them, pan-sear the tomato burgers in a little olive oil until heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add cheese and allow it to melt on top of each burger. Place burger on a bun with basil sauce and serve with French fries, salad or any side dish you prefer.

Note: If you have a convection oven, put the fan on high so the tomatoes dry faster.