Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Stuffed Tomatoes Provençal

Did I mention that I have a lot of tomatoes? I have been getting tomatoes—beautiful Roma and large, colorful heirloom varieties of tomatoes—every week in my CSA bag lately. So this recipe seemed like a great way to use them up. I subbed sun-dried tomato pesto for the tapenade, since we don’t like olives. This recipe produced a wonderful savory and saucy tomato dish. They were perfect atop a heaping pile of pasta.

Source: Stuffed Tomatoes Provençal, Stonewall Kitchen Harvest

4 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
6 medium tomatoes (about 4 pounds)
⅓ cup plus 2 tablespoons tapenade or olive puree
¼ cup breadcrumbs

Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

In a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until pale gold, for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and add the herbs.

Meanwhile, cut the tomatoes in half crosswise. When the onions have cooked for 10 minutes, use a melon scooper or a small spoon to very carefully scoop the flesh out of each tomato half and into the pan with the onions, being careful not to cut into the “shell.” Set the hollowed-out tomato halves aside. Reduce the heat to low and let the tomato-onion-garlic mixture cook for another 10 minutes, or until tomato juices have thickened slightly. Place the tomato halves in a large gratin dish, broiler pan, or ovenproof skillet. Using a spoon, divide the 1/3 cup of the tapenade equally among them, spreading it inside each.

When the onion-tomato mixture is done cooking, remove from the heat and stir in the breadcrumbs. Taste the mixture for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if needed. Very carefully, put an equal amount of the stuffing in each tomato shell, pressing down lightly so you get as much stuffing as possible into each one. Top each stuffed tomato with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. (The dish can be made several hours ahead of time up to this point. Cover and refrigerate until ready to bake.)

Bake the tomatoes for 1 hour, or until the tomatoes look soft. Serve hot, at room temperature, or chilled.

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