It’s important to have a few dishes in your entertaining arsenal that you can rely on, and you should have no trouble keeping juicy tomatoes on hand for last-minute grilling.

Follow these steps for perfect grilled tomatoes:

1. Generously sprinkle a large plate or baking sheet with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.

2. Place 1/2-inch-thick tomato slices on the sheet, then salt and pepper the top of each slice. Let the tomatoes sit for 15-20 minutes.

3. Oil your grill with vegetable or grapeseed oil, then cook the tomato slices over hot coals for 30-60 seconds on each side, or until the outsides are slightly seared.

4. Sprinkle balsamic vinegar and olive oil over the tomatoes and serve.

This article appeared in the July 2006 issue of Portland Monthly Magazine.