There is simply no better way to enjoy summer’s bounty than to dine al fresco. I don’t quite know why, but food eaten out of doors just tastes better. Fresher. More wholesome. Assuming, that is, that you use fresh, wholesome, flavorful ingredients. And with all the amazing fresh foods available in summer, there is simply no excuse not to eat fresh, wholesome, flavorful ingredients.
When I was invited to celebrate 30 Days of Outdoor Dining with Kitchen Play and LAND O LAKES® 4 Cheese Italian Blend, I knew I wanted to focus my efforts on the fresh, wonderful flavors only available in summer. Because for me, that’s what summer is all about. I look forward every year to our summer Farmer’s Market, to buying the freshest, tastiest produce and pairing them with other foods that complement their flavors. And eating it all out of doors, in the fresh air.
Because LAND O LAKES® 4 Cheese Italian Blend combines some of my favorite Italian cheeses with American deli cheese, my mind drifted to fresh Italian flavors. I have copious amounts of basil growing on my patio, so much that I can barely keep up with it, so using it was pretty much a given. My own garden tomatoes aren’t quite ripe yet (and this being New England, they have a ways to go yet!), but I found some lovely large hothouse tomatoes to work with. And when I went to the store to get the LAND O LAKES® 4 Cheese Italian Blend, some prosciutto caught my eye, and I knew it would be a perfect finish.
This dish is ideal for outdoor dining and grilling, because it’s simple to prepare and incredibly flavorful. The sharp saltiness of the Asiago, Romano and Parmesan balanced the tomato, basil and prosciutto, and the creaminess of the American cheese helped it melt nicely during grilling. And the tomatoes hold together well enough to be picked up and eaten as finger food. Nothing better!
Be sure to check Kitchen PLAY every day for the next fabulous recipe featuring new LAND O LAKES® 4 Cheese Italian Blend or LAND O LAKES® Deli American Cheese. Then, get in on the fun by leaving a comment with your own “30 Days of Outdoor Dining” tip for dining al fresco this summer. If you do, you’ll be entered to win a lovely grilling prize pack, including one grilling spatula, one marinade brush, one set of tongs and one grill scraper. Kitchen PLAY will be giving away four prizes total, one each week! Please visit Kitchen PLAY for sweepstakes guidelines.
*Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Land O’Lakes as part of the Kitchen PLAY SideCar series. All opinions given are my own.
Grilled Tomatoes with Cheese, Prosciutto and Basil
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 4 large beefsteak tomatoes
- 8 slices LAND O LAKES® 4 Cheese Italian Blend
- 8 slices prosciutto, chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
- In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, minced garlic, salt and pepper.
- Cut tomatoes in half vertically from top to bottom and cut out stem. Lay tomatoes cut-side down on preheated grill and cook 3 minutes. Carefully flip tomatoes and brush cut-side with oil mixture. Cook 3 more minutes.
- Cover each tomato half with one piece of cheese. Cover grill and cook for 1 more minute, until cheese is melted.
- Remove from grill and sprinkle each with prosciutto and chopped basil. Serve immediately.