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Stuffed tomatoes in French are tomates farcies. Whether you have a smattering of French or not, there’s no denying the fact that the dish sounds so much more appealing en Française.
I do think ‘stuffed’ is an unfortunate-sounding word in English. ‘Stuff it’, ‘get stuffed’, ‘knock the stuffing out’, ‘stuffy’, all not very flattering. So when we’re talking about loading delicious things to eat with other delicious things to eat, usually smashed to a paste, I would suggest using a different verb; perhaps make like the Germans and say ‘filled (gefüllte) tomatoes’?
Pomodori ripieni is actually an Italian musical term, how poetic! Tomates rellenos: Spanish, from rellenar to refill, stuff, that’s re + llenar (to fill, from lleno full, from Latin plenus). Gemistes ntomates or simply gemista is a dish name of its own in Greek, and justifiably so. And Swedish fyllda tomater, here we go again – ‘filled’.
Henceforth I shall call this dish ‘filled tomatoes’.
One problem only – no one will google for them. Oh heck. Stuff it. Stuff the damn tomatoes and my innovative language campaign. And have them – without the campaign – for lunch or dinner. Completely stuffing delicious.
- 6 – 8 medium sized tomatoes
- salt and black pepper
- 2 slices of white or sourdough bread, crust cut off
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed to a paste with a little salt
- 2 anchovy fillets, drained (omit for vegetarian version)
- 2 tbsp. chopped basil
- ½ tsp fresh thyme leaves
- zest grated from 1 small lemon
- 30g (1oz.) grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese
- 30g (1oz.) grated Comte or Gruyere cheese
- olive oil
Wash the tomatoes, cut off the tops and scoop the core and seeds out with a teaspoon. Salt them inside and place upside down in a sieve over a bowl to drain the moisture.
Blitz the bread in a blender or a food processor; add the remaining ingredients and enough olive oil for the stuffing to stick together like dough.
Place the tomatoes in an oiled baking dish that fits them snugly. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/gas 5.
Stuff the tomatoes with the breadcrumb mix, packing it in gently. Bake for 30 minutes until the breadcrumb tops are browned and the tomatoes are soft.
Serve very warm but not blistering hot.