Monday, August 22, 2011

Stuffed Tomatoes

Nothing beats a home grown tomato. The warmth of a just-picked tomato and its sweet juiciness is one of life's simple pleasures this time of year. I love seeing all of the different types of heirloom tomatoes at the farmers markets and I also love seeing them growing in my dad's humble little garden. And using them in the kitchen is what I love the most. I make fresh tomato sauce and tomato salsa and tomato salad a lot. I even made a killer roasted tomato soup just a few days ago. But today I tried something new with these big red guys: stuffed tomatoes. They're incredibly simple and they really highlight the flavor of the tomato. So if you find yourself with too many tomatoes and you're tired of making the same old thing with them, try these!

Also, be wary of store bought breadcrumbs. Breadcrumbs sound simple, but take a look at the ingredient list and oftentimes you'll see tons of chemicals, preservatives and hydrogenated oils listed. So, seek out a brand that is natural and free from all of these bad things, or you can eaily make homemade breadcrumbs. Better yet, use whole wheat breadcrumbs instead of the usual white.

This recipe is a little rough because it really depends on the size of your tomatoes and how many you're making. This recipe makes 2 medium sized stuffed tomatoes, but play around with the ratios if you make more of if you use really big tomatoes. 

Stuffed Tomatoes 
2 medium sized tomatoes
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs (I used plain whole wheat bread crumbs, see important note above)
1 large clove of garlic, very finely minced
Fresh basil leaves (maybe 6 leaves or so), finely chopped (or you use a tablespoon of dried basil)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Pinch of sea salt (or more to taste)
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling3 tablespoons shredded mozzerella

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice the tops off of each of the tomatoes to remove the stem. Then, with a spoon, gently scoop out all of the seeds and watery pulp. I say do this gently because you don't want to tear the tomatoes or poke a hole in them. Discard the watery pulp and seeds (unless you think of something good to do with it).

2. Drizzle the tomatoes with olive oil and coat them all over. You can even put some inside the tomatoes if you want. Then set the tomatoes in a small baking dish

3. In a bowl, add the breadcrumbs, garlic, basil, Parmesan cheese, salt, and a tablespoon of olive oil. Mix well with a fork.

4. Now, stuff each tomato with the breadcrumb mixture and top each with shredded mozzarella and more Parmesan if you'd like. Bake for 30 minutes or so until the tomato skins are nice and blistery. Let cool briefly before serving.

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