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Monday, September 6, 2010

Stuffed Tomatoes: Recipe

My neighbor retired long ago but when he did work he owned a produce market in Brooklyn, which might explain his magic touch when it comes to growing tomatoes. Recently the news has told us about how Long Island tomatoes have been infected by fungus and by bugs, killing off hopes of bumper crops and causing the price of these juicy red balls to sky-rocket. But I tell you that my neighbor, this very old man who now only comes outside when it's cool, is a tomato magician - the equivalent of Rumpelstiltskin with the ability of turning 15 feet of backyard into rows of Jack and Beanstalk-high plants filled with giant tomatoes.

Thankfully, he is also very generous - we are very often, particularly around now, the recipient of 8-10 tomatoes at a time.  Today I saw a recipe in Bon Appetit for tomatoes stuffed with "succotash" and I decided to give it a try - my way.

These were very good - juicy and light. You could serve this as a light dinner with some crusty bread to sop up the juices or you could serve it as a side dish, which is how it appeared on my dinner table tonight. I admit that I made too much filling for the number of tomatoes I carved out.  When I make this again, I'll add two more tomatoes. So I'm giving you the corrected version.

Last summer I made tomatoes stuffed with breadcrumbs and sausage, which was an amazing dish. Either way, using a tomato as a vessel is a great way to use up these highly sought-after balls!

Stuffed Tomatoes
6 ripe tomatoes, as prepared below
2 ears of corn, kernels sliced off the ear, about 1 cup
1 1/2 zucchini, cubed into 1 1/2" pieces
1 tsp. fresh thyme
2 Tbsp. fresh basil
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
1 small onion, chopped
olive oil

Preheat oven to 350.

Prepare tomatoes: cut a circle into the tops of each tomato, stem side, removing and discarding the stem. Make a very thin slice on each of the bottoms of the tomatoes so they won't fall over when sitting upright. Using a spoon, remove and discard the seeds from the tomatoes and place the remaining flesh into a mixing bowl. Repeat with each tomato. Place tomatoes upside down to drain.

Meanwhile, mix together the zucchini, thyme, basil, and cilantro with the tomato flesh. Stir. In a large pan, heat 1 tsp. olive oil over medium high heat. Toss in the onion and saute for 3-5 minutes, or until onion is soft and translucent. Add in the corn kernels and saute another 4 minutes. Mix onions and corn with the tomato mixture. Toss well.  Place each tomato, hole side up, onto a baking sheet. Fill the tomatoes with the mixture and drizzle a tiny bit of oil onto the filling of each tomato. Bake 25 minutes.

Remove tomatoes from the cookie sheet using a very sturdy spatula - the tomato will collapse if too much pressure is placed on it.

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