Friday, 24 March 2017

FOOD FRIDAY - STUFFED TOMATOES

“The Greek word for ‘return’ is nostos. Algos means ‘suffering’. So nostalgia is the suffering caused by an unappeased yearning to return.” ― Milan Kundera 

We were given some home-grown tomatoes by some friends who have quite a large vegetable patch in their garden. The tomatoes were ripe and red, full of flavour and begging to be eaten. A traditional Greek dish characteristic of late Summer is stuffed vegetables, or if one is spoilt by having such wonderful tomatoes as an ingredient on hand, stuffed tomatoes:

Stuffed Tomatoes
Ingredients

10 ripe, fleshy and flavoursome tomatoes (home-grown are best!)
12 tbsp calrose rice
1 large onion, grated
3 tbsp parsley, chopped
2 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
The tomato flesh, blended
1 tbsp currants (seedless)
2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted with a little olive oil in a pan
1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup breadcrumbs, mixed with,
1/2 cup grated parmesan
Salt, pepper to taste
1 glassful of vegetable stock

Method
Prepare the tomatoes first: Cut the top of the washed and dried tomatoes, so that lid is formed, still attached to the tomato about 2 cm length. With a teaspoon, carefully scoop out the tomato flesh and reserve. Be careful not to puncture the wall of the tomato. At the end you should have 10 hollowed out tomatoes with lids. Add salt and pepper to the cavity of each tomato and rub the inside with a teaspoon of olive oil. Arrange the tomatoes in a baking tray so that they are fairly tightly packed, touching each other all around.
Take the flesh of the tomatoes and blend into a pulp. Add salt. If the tomatoes are ripe and red there is no need to add sugar (in fact don’t add sugar to tomatoes, ever!). Reserve.
In a pan, pour the remaining olive oil (about 1/2 cup and sauté the grated onion until golden. Add the rice, stirring to mix thoroughly with the onion and oil. Add the currants and pine nuts, stirring well to mix through. Add the tomato pulp, parsley and mint. Cook for a few minutes until the herbs are wilted. Taste for salt/pepper and add accordingly.
Fill the tomato cases with the rice mixture until they are 3/4 full. Cover with the lids and drizzle some extra olive oil over each tomato (about 1 tsp over each one). Pour the vegetable stock into the baking tray in between the tomatoes.
Sprinkle the breadcrumb/parmesan mixture over the tomatoes and bake in a fan-forced oven at 180˚C for about an hour, an hour and a quarter until the tomatoes are cooked, the topping is golden brown and the rice is tender. You may serve them hot or cold.


This post is part of the Food Friday meme.

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