26 May 2017 |
We tend to have an overabundance of tomatoes in summer, and while my husband is very happy admiring them and photographing them, I feel they need to be put to use. About half end up in a gazpacho, but the rest are divided into salads, tomato sauces (some conserved for winter), various roasts and casseroles. The really big ones sometimes get selected for a more prestigious task, that of being stuffed and roasted. It’s not every tomato that can perform such a job: applicants must be overwhelmingly tasty, yet sturdy enough to stand up to cooking. I like to use very flavourful sausage meat for the stuffing, and I find that adding ground hazelnuts on top adds a tasty little twist. This is a dish that can be prepared in advance and baked on command. These go very well with a glass of white Bordeaux, though my favourite pairing is a crisp rosé from Provence - Mimi Thorisson
6 large tomatoes
2 slices stale bread
¹⁄³ cup / 80 ml whole (full-fat) milk
6 pork sausages, casings
removed 2 shallots, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 large egg
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
a large handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped, plus more for serving (chopped)
leaves from a few sprigs of fresh thyme
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup / 60 g fresh breadcrumbs
½ cup / 60 g ground hazelnuts
5 tablespoons / 75 ml extra virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 400°F / 200°C.
Slice off the top part of each tomato to make a little ‘hat’ and set aside. Gently scoop out the tomato pulp (reserve for another use) and arrange the tomatoes upside down on a plate to drain for 10 minutes.Soak the bread in a bowl with the milk until softened, about 8 minutes.Squeeze out the bread (discard the milk) and put it in a large bowl. Add the sausage meat, shallots, half the garlic, the egg, mustard, parsley and thyme, and season with salt and pepper.
Turn the tomatoes over and sprinkle the bottoms of each with salt, pepper, and a teaspoon of breadcrumbs. Fill the tomatoes with the sausage stuffing until full.
In a small bowl, combine the remaining breadcrumbs, remaining garlic, and the ground hazelnuts. Sprinkle this mixture over the tomatoes.
Pour 2 tablespoons of the olive oil into a baking dish and add the stuffed tomatoes. Drizzle the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil over the tomatoes and top them with the little hats. Bake until golden, about 40 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and serve hot.