Tuesday after work, I arrived at the farm to pick up my CSA share, and was greeted with the most glorious sign I ever laid eyes on “pick as much basil as you would like”. Storm clouds were rolling in, so I ran out to the fields, quickly ditching my heels for more appropriate attire—because this was one opportunity I was not going to miss out on. I wondered about the state of the crop with a sign so generous, but my fears were quickly dispelled as I entered the fields. Row after row of healthy basil plants surrounded me, filling the air with a hallucinating, sweet smell. This I decided, was a glimpse at my heaven.
I packed a bag with the makings of a winters-worth of pesto, not even leaving a dent in the crop, and headed back it my car. The storm began minutes later, and I let out a happy sigh. Summer surrounded me—the copious stash of basil, the afternoon storm bringing a welcome breeze, the fresh tomato waiting on my counter at home. I could think of no better way to celebrate my earnings than to taste them. With this, I present to you, summer, in a dish.
Baked Summer Tomatoes with eggs and feta
2 c cubed ciabatta bread (1/2″ cubes)
1 c packed arugula
6 eggs, beaten together
salt and pepper, to taste
1 large tomato, sliced
small handful basil leaves, sliced thin
1 c crumbled feta cheese
2 T olive oil
3 medium shallots, sliced thin
Preheat oven to 400F. Separate bread cubes between two small (4”-6”) oven-proof dishes. Top each with 1/2 c arugula and half the beaten eggs. Season with a few pinches of salt and pepper. Top each dish with half the tomato slices, basil, and 1/2 c feta cheese. Transfer dishes to oven and cook 15-18 minutes, until eggs are set and cheese begins to brown.
While casserole is baking, make the fried shallots. Heat 2 T olive oil over medium heat. Add shallots, and cook 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and crispy.
Remove dishes from oven, and top with crispy shallots. Season to taste with salt, pepper and additional basil, if desired.