Monday, August 8, 2011
Mark Bittman wrote---"A fresh tomato is a beautiful thing — which is all the more reason to slice it, mash it, crush it, or stuff it" in an article this weekend in the NY Times "The Proper Ways to Treat an Heirloom". Mr. Bittman will get no argument from me. We've waited for weeks to pluck those first warm luscious beauties from the garden, knowing full well those firsts would never make it to the kitchen. I can't think of any other summer vegetable I feel this way about.
But as of yesterday my kitchen counter was nearly covered with an assortment of fresh tomatoes.. romas, brandywines, beefsteaks, 4th of July's (that obviously were a might late producing), early girls and then there are the cherries.. yellows, orange and reds. The grapes, well they too just never seem to make it indoors... some gardeners do work up an appetite with all this weeding you know!
So I have all these lovely tomatoes on hand. I haven't even begun the roasting process, nor the canning yet. Well after reading a post here a few weeks ago, I've been waiting patiently for my romas to ripen to give this recipe a whirl, and as we had some friends over this weekend--here was the perfect opportunity. I didn't want to be in the kitchen long during this visit, so I did the prep work earlier in the morn--so all I needed to do when the time came was pop these tomatoes into the oven and just wait. Clearly they were a big hit here and clearly I will be making these again. So if you have an abundance of tomatoes as we do, definitely give this recipe a try..you won't be disappointed. I chose to use my romas.. as this is what I had the most of on hand, and I preferred this appetizer sized fruit as well. I omitted the eggplant and subbed in zucchini and used half the ricotta cheese--subbing in goat cheese and shredded fontina.
Stuffed Heirloom Tomatoes
Adapted from The Italian Dish Blog & "The Italian Farmer's Table"
6 roma tomatoes
1-1/2 TBLS olive oil
1/4 red onion, diced
1/2 yellow pepper, diced
1 small zucchini, diced
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup herbed goat cheese
1/4 cup grated fontina cheese
1 large egg
1/3 cup panko crumbs
1/4 cup grated Pecorino cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1 TBLS chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/2 TBLS minced fresh oregano
1 TBLS minced fresh basil
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and flesh, reserving 1/4 cup for the filling. Salt the insides of the tomatoes and turn them over to drain excess water.
Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to a medium size skillet and add the red onion and cook over medium heat until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the yellow pepper and the zucchini and continue to cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the reserved tomato flesh with a bit of the juices and saute for another 5 minutes, or until all the vegetables are tender. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper and set aside to cool.
Place the ricotta, goat cheese, eggs, 1/4 cup panko crumbs, the grated pecorino cheese, 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano, herbs and vegetable mixture in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Puree ingredients until well combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Stuff tomatoes with the filling, using a spoon and place stuffing side up on an oiled baking dish. Sprinkle the tomatoes with the remaining 1 tablespoon grated Parmigiano and the remaining panko crumbs and drizzle with the remaining 1 TBLS olive oil.
Bake for about 30 minutes or until the tomatoes are tender and the filling is golden brown. Can be served immediately or at room temperature. The stuffed tomatoes can be made a day in advance and gently reheated. Enjoy!