Thursday, September 06, 2007

Stuffed Tomatoes

I looked at my garden last night and noticed it was full of ripe tomatoes. So exciting! I thought this morning I'd go pick everything that was ripe and can a few jars of roasted tomato sauce, but I was a little mistaken in how abundant the crop was. I may have been able to squeeze two jars out of the batch, but then water-bathing two jars would be pretty difficult, since I'd have to fill all the remaining space with empty jars or something.

Then I thought about the Comté sitting in the fridge, and I decided to stuff a few of them. I've mentioned this idea before, but I thought I'd finalize a recipe and add a picture or three. It was a wonderful little lunch, and the filling was rich enough that the dish stands well on its own, or it can certainly be a side dish.

If you don't have Comté around, you can use another Gruyère, which shouldn't be too difficult to find, or if you're really remote and can't get any variety at the grocery store, try a Swiss cheese. They're all related. I'd tell you more about that, but Wikipedia has much more information than I.

I just ran out of olive oil last night (I know, Cardinal sin), so I used butter in this recipe, but I think I prefer the fruitiness of an extra virgin olive oil, though butter goes nicely with the cheese. Either way works well, so do as you choose. The fresh herbs are nice, too, but if you don't have them around, you can probably get away with dry; just cut the amounts in half.

Stuffed Tomatoes
3 medium tomatoes
1 1/2 slices white bread, lightly toasted
1/2 t. finely minced fresh thyme
1/4 t. finely minced fresh rosemary
1 1/2 t. unsalted butter or olive oil
1 c. grated Comté, Gruyère, or Swiss cheese
Kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400°. Line a baking tray with parchment paper or a silicone mat, or spray with non-stick coating.

Slice the tomatoes in half and lay them on their tops or bottoms. Scoop out the centers of each of the tomatoes and discard the seeds and juice. Finely chop the fruit from the centers and place in a small bowl.

If using butter, lightly butter the toast. If using olive oil, add it to the chopped tomatoes. Roughly tear the toast and toss it in the blender for a few seconds. Add the crumbs to the tomatoes, as well as the herbs, 1/2 c. grated cheese, 2 pinches of salt, and 3 twists of black pepper. Stir together.

Salt the insides of the tomatoes, then divide the filling between the 6 halves. Top with the remaining 1/2 c. of cheese. Bake for 20 minutes and serve warm.

Now, I'll need to figure out what to do with the rest of my tomatoes!

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