Tuesday, September 15, 2015

TUSCAN BAKED TOMATOES

In September, gardeners have an abundance of tomatoes. Here is another delicious way to serve them. I used a combination of orange, yellow, and red tomatoes, but you can use all red tomatoes. Tomatoes are native to South and Central America. In 1519, the Spanish explorer, Hernán Cortés brought seeds back to Europe. Europeans thought the fruits were poisonous because of their bright shiny appearance. It is believed they were yellow in appearance and the Italians called them pomi d'oro, which translates to apples of gold.
Many people believed that Thomas Jefferson brought the seeds to America, but it was more than likely Jewish merchants who were widely involved in trade and were of Spanish and Portuguese descent.


6 slices crusty Italian bread or good white bread, broken into chunks
2 large cloves garlic
½ cup (125 ml) chopped Italian parsley, divided
2 T (30 ml) chopped basil
1 t (5 ml) fresh or dried thyme
1 t (5 ml) chopped fresh or dried rosemary
1 pinch of red pepper flakes
½ t (2 ml) sea salt
1 t (5 ml) freshly ground black pepper
6 oz (185 g) Pecorino Romano cheese, cut into small chunks
8 medium size tomatoes
Extra-light olive oil, for drizzling
Extra-virgin olive oil, for finishing

Preheat oven to 400 F (200 C) degrees.

Place bread, garlic, most of the parsley, basil, thyme, rosemary, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, and Pecorino cheese in the bowl of a food processor.
Puree until mixture is a fine ground consistency.

Cut the tops off of the tomatoes and discard.
Push out the seeds and pulp with your fingers into each pocket and discard.

Using a spoon, fill the tomatoes with the bread crumb mixture.
Place the tomatoes in a baking dish, drizzle with the extra-light olive oil.

Bake in oven for 30 minutes.
Turn on broiler and broil for another 3 to 5 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.

Remove from oven and sprinkle with the remaining chopped parsley and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil.

Serves 4 - as a contorno (side dish)




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