What I love about a good tomato is that you can eat it as you would an apple or a peach. Pick it fresh from the garden and bite into it, no need for seasoning. And then use a few for your favourite Summer recipes. In my case, it would be a tomato and mozzarella salad, ratatouille or even better: des tomates farcies (stuffed tomatoes)! Just imagine the smell of baked tomatoes with a filling of meat and fresh herbs. It is so fragrant!
I found some great organic vine tomatoes in my local supermarket, with a good size and firm enough. They were lovely and fragrant, perfect for what I had in mind. While baking in the oven, the smell of the stuffed tomatoes spread throughout our apartment and made us really hungry! As soon as they were ready, I served them with rice and it was un vrai délice!
Ingredients (for 4 people)
8 tomatoes (choose them with a size big enough to have stuffing inside, firmness is also essential)
400g pork sausage meat*
30g Serrano ham (chopped)
2 small shallots (finely chopped)
2 garlic cloves (minced)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1 handful flat leaf parsley (finely chopped)
2 tablespoons tomato puree
1 free range egg
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Slice the top of the tomatoes and reserve the little 'hats' on a plate. Scoop the tomato pulp out (I keep it to make tomato sauce for pasta), sprinkle a little bit of salt in each tomato and place them upside down on kitchen paper or a wire rack to drain while you prepare the stuffing.
2. Put the rest of the ingredients (except for the olive oil) in a large bowl and mix together with a wooden spoon. Season with salt and pepper to your liking.
3. Drizzle the bottom of a baking dish with some olive oil. Divide the stuffing between the tomatoes and place them in the dish (it is better if the tomatoes sit tightly together or else they might roll on their side). Place on the middle shelf of the oven and cook for 40 minutes. Halfway through cooking time, add the tomato hats on top.
Serve with rice et voilà!
* For this part, I get some good quality sausages with high content of pork and squeeze the meat out. If you choose this instead of ground meat on its own, you might want to skip adding salt to the recipe since sausages are usually already seasoned.
If you would prefer a vegetarian stuffing, I used a lovely quinoa and feta cheese one in this recipe.