Recipe: stuffed tomatoes

Everyone’s heard of stuffed peppers; now try it with tomatoes. This year we planted a unique variety called Striped Cavern, which has thick sidewalls and a nearly empty cavity. Thus you can easily slice open the top, scoop out the inside like a pumpkin, and stuff with all sorts of interesting fillings. Then you can roast the whole thing, or just serve raw. I think it would be fun to fill with gazpacho as a tomato-bowl kind of thing.

Here’s a recipe for a cooked version that worked well for a quick after-market dinner on Saturday evening. This is based on Deborah Madison’s recipe “Tomatoes Stuffed with Herbed Grains” in Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.

Mix the stuffing together in a bowl. The specific ingredients are infinitely adaptable based on what’s on hand. This is a general guide, with the actual ingredients that I used this time in parentheses. I had enough stuffing for about 5 tomatoes.

–a cup or two of cooked grain (leftover brown rice)
–a couple of cloves of minced garlic or a small onion (2 cloves Samarkand garlic)
–a hanful of finely chopped veggies (a Doe Hill Golden Bell pepper & a small Opalka tomato)
–several tablespoons or so of minced herbs (parsley, thyme, oregano)
–a few chopped nuts (almonds)
–cheese, amount to taste (~1/2 cup of ricotta from our goats)
–salt & pepper, to taste

Cut around the stem of the Striped Cavern tomatoes and scoop out any innards. Stuff the tomatoes with the filling. Put in an oiled baking dish. Brush the outside of the tomatoes with oil. Bake at 375º for about 25 minutes, until the filling is hot.

The Striped Cavern tomatoes are prolific right now, but were hard to convince customers of at market. I got a lot of “Oh, wow, that’s really interesting!” followed by a slow backing away from the crazy man. Give them a try this weekend while they’re ripe and ready.

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