What is it, that’s so satisfying about stuffing something, to put in the oven? Is it the anticipation of something out of the ordinary – let’s face it, it’s not every day you stuff your lunch or dinner! Or, is it more the memories associated with something festive – say, stuffing a turkey at Christmas? Whatever the reason, the aromas coming from the kitchen will let you know it’s worth the effort.
There couldn’t be a better time of year for it – the abundance of fresh local vegetables.. zucchini, eggplant, sweet bell peppers, beefsteak tomatoes… to name a few, make most excellent and delicious edible containers.
You can stuff them with other vegetables, meat, cheese or countless combinations of… you’re limited only by what’s at hand in your cupboard or in your fridge.
Even though I’ve made cabbage rolls countless times, there’s not much else I’ve ever stuffed – in fact, it wasn’t that long ago I made sausage stuffed peppers for the first time. OMG!! I don’t know why I ever thought they would be so… ordinary. They were absolutely fantastic!! Goes to show you – you never know until you try!
Stuffed Beefsteak Tomatoes – How To:
Once you have your tomatoes prepped for stuffing, it’s simply a matter of choosing what to put in them. Experiment and see what you like best; from ground meats, to other vegetables, rice, cheese or any type of flavoured bread or bread crumb stuffing. Bake in the oven in a greased shallow container at 350° for 20 – 30 minutes depending on the filling; a heavier filling will take longer to cook in the center. You could even bake them on your BBQ; mind the temperature and adjust the cooking time accordingly.
Cut the tomatoes in half horizontally and using a spoon, scoop out as much of the inside as you can, being careful not to puncture the remaining shell. No biggie it they’re not completely flat – as long as you have some room to add other ingredients, they will have character. Cooking is NOT about perfection!
Do not throw out the tomato ‘insides’…. use for a very fresh tasting pasta sauce, gazpacho or tomato soup. Be sure to leave the core – otherwise the shell will not remain intact.
Turn them upside down, and drain for at least 15 minutes on kitchen paper….
…this step will keep your stuffing/filling from getting too watered down (you can see how much moisture comes out)
This is where the fun starts!…. Note: unless the filling you’re adding is well seasoned (i.e. the egg) be sure to season the tomato shell with salt and fresh ground pepper before stuffing or it will be bland.
Peas and bocconcini, fresh herb butter and garlic panko/bread crumbs – or simply an egg.
Excellent at any time of day, as a breakfast or brunch item, light lunch or appetizer for evening.
Fresh. Local. Healthy. Delicious.