Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Stuffed Tomatoes Provencal

There are many recipes for stuffed tomatoes, and, I've made a few. However, when I was preparing a nice meal for my beautiful wife, Clare, I used a recipe from The Paley's Place Cookbook.  This recipe was to be a side dish to the Cedar Plank Salmon, which I also prepared using a recipe from this cookbook.

To the writers of the cookbook, this recipe "captures the true flavors of southern France."  The Paley's Place usually serves this side with its spit-roasted lamb or Shoulder of Lamb Roasted with Hay and Lavender. 

This recipe is by far the best recipe that I have come across for stuffed tomatoes.  The stuffing is made from onions, garlic, tomatoes, anchovies, crushed red pepper, a hard boiled egg, Persillade (an Italian parsley garlic mixture, see below for the recipe) and bread crumbs.  Although Paley's Place make their own bread crumbs for this recipe, I used panko bread crumbs.  Perhaps the best part of this recipe is the use of the tomato tops, with stems, for presentation.

Adapted from The Paley Cookbook at pages 138-39
Serves 2

4 large, firm, ripe tomatoes
1/4 cup plus too tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Pinch of red pepper flakes
4 anchovy fillets, drained, rinsed and finely minced
Kosher salt, to taste
Ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup loosely packed basil leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons of Persillade (see below)
1 hard boiled egg, coarsely grated
1 tablespoon of grated Parmigiano Reggiano

1.  Prepare the tomatoes.  Slice off the caps of the tomatoes carefully, setting aside their stems and caps for use later.  Shave off a thin slice from the bottom of the tomatoes to ensure they sit flat.  Chop the trimmings and also save them for use.  Hollow the inside of the tomatoes, being careful not to piece the bottom.  Reserve the flesh and seeds with the chopped trimmings.

2.  Cook the mixture.  Heat the 1/4 cup of olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onions, garlic and the red pepper flakes and cook, stirring often until it is all softened.  This should take about five minutes.  Add the anchovies and chopped tomatoes and continue to cook until the liquid evaporates, about fifteen minutes.

3.  Finish the mixture.  Cool the mixture a slight bit and transfer to a small bowl.  Add the bread crumbs, basil, Persillade and grated egg.

4.  Stuff the tomatoes.  Mound the stuffing in each tomato, patting the tops by hand.  Place the stuffed tomatoes in an oven proof gratin dish.  Sprinkle each tomato with Parmigiano Reggiano.  Place the reserved tops in the dish with the tomatoes.  Drizzle all with the 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

5.  Bake the tomatoes.  Bake until the tomatoes are soft to the touch and the cheese browns a little bit.  This should take about twenty minutes.

The one hint the writers provide is to not stuff the tomatoes too much or else they will split. That is something that I learned first hand, as a couple of my tomatoes did split.  I've duly noted this hint for the next time I make the recipe.  Finally, the recipe for Persillade, which is actually a good little mixture to use in cooking.

Makes 1/2 cup
Source: The Paley Place Cookbook at page 198.

1 bunch Italian flat leaf parsley
3 large cloves of garlic.

1.  Finely chop the garlic.  Add the garlic to the parsley and continue to chop until well incorporated.

2.  Transfer the mixture to a small container, cover tightly and refrigerate until ready to use.


1 comment:

Lauren said...

Well these sound wonderful.

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