Tomato season is blissful, isn't it?
In August, these plentiful fruits arrive like they own the place. They're big, they're red, and they're so much better than the tasteless variety you bought at the grocery store in February. The only problem (if you can call it that), is that they often ripen in mass quantities, leaving to you to cry out in dismay, "So many tomatoes! So little time!"
This is precisely the call I received from my parents this weekend, desperate to unload what seemed like bushels of ripe tomatoes (My dad is gardening genius, and produces ridiculous amounts of vegetables every year. Unfortunately, he failed to pass that gene on to me. I can kill an aloe plant just looking at it).
After happily packing up my free produce from their yard, Adam converted the tomatoes into a meal that would be cruel not to share with you. Toasted pine nuts, fresh herbs, and parmesan cheese are the hallmarks of this recipe, found in the Vegetarian Meat and Potatoes Cookbook by Robin Robertson. Let me tell you, friends: this a recipe made to impress. Not only does it taste outstanding, but it presents beautifully, making it the perfect meal for guests.
So, on this relaxing Sunday night, we invited the family over for a classic August porch dinner and enjoyed dad's tomato harvest to the fullest :)
Bring on the tomatoes!
Savory Stuffed Beefsteak Tomatoes
(recipe from Robin Robertson's The Vegetarian Meat & Potatoes Cookbook)
We served the tomatoes with a simple fresh spinach salad and garlic bread. Perfect for company!
- 4 large ripe tomatoes
- 2 TBSP olive oil
- 1 onion, minced
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 cups cooked brown rice
- 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted (you MUST toast them! It brings out all the flavor)
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
- 1/2 tsp. dried oregano or marjoram
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup dry Italian-seasoned bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Garlic powder to taste
- Additional parsley to garnish
1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a small baking dish.
2) Slice the tops off of the tomatoes and carefully remove the pulp and seeds, leaving the tomato shell intact. Chop the pulp and place in a colander/strainer to get rid of the excess liquid. Set aside.
3) Heat 1 TBSP oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, tomato pulp, rice, pine nuts, parsley, basil, marjoram or oregano, salt, and pepper. Cook on low heat for 5 minutes, until excess liquid has been absorbed. (If the mixture is too liquidy/wet, your tomatoes will not stay firm when you bake them!) Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
4) Stuff the rice mixture into the tomatoes and place in the prepared baking dish. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1 TBSP oil with the bread crumbs, Parmesan, and a sprinkling of garlic powder to taste, tossing with a fork to mix. Sprinkle over the tomatoes. Top with a little parsley to garnish.
5) Cover with a sheet of aluminum foil and bake until the tomatoes are a little soft and the filling is hot, about 15 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 5 additional minutes to brown the topping.