Wednesday, 18 April 2007

Stuffed Again

In a tranquil hour today, I looked into the fridge to find it slightly on the empty side; a few tomatoes, a punnet of mushrooms, some shallots and a Craster kipper that somehow survived Sunday morning breakfast. What on earth was I to do with this poor lot?

A very simple vegetable accompaniment which just so happens to go superbly with fish is a stuffed tomato. In Provencal French cooking it is called a Tomate Farci and is often a de-seeded tomato stuffed with pork or beef, or both. Delicious on its own, my version is stuffed with my left over mushrooms.

These are perfect on a hot summers day and a delight for vegetarians and meat lovers alike. To me, mushrooms are the meat of the vegetable world and are so versatile. Ensure you sweat them off well so that the water evaporates, the stuffing does not shrink and the flavour intensifies. I add a splash of Madeira to mine to give a sweet alcoholic backdrop but this can be omitted. Think about adding elements, such as walnuts or pine nuts. The crunch would be a lovely surprise.

Stuffed Tomatoes

4 Tomatoes
200g mushrooms finely chopped (I used chestnut but any combination of wild mushroom would be amazing)
2 shallots finely chopped
1 clove of garlic finely chopped
1 tbs each of fresh thyme and parsley, finely chopped
1 tbs Madeira
Salt and pepper

1 - Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C, GM 4
2 - In a frying pan, heat some olive oil and add the shallot, mushrooms and garlic. Cook and stir until you have colour and the mixture has reduced in size.
3 - Add the Madeira and cook for 1 minute, then finally add the fresh herbs and a little seasoning.
4 - Pour a little oil onto the tomatoes and rub onto the skin.
5 - Cut off the tops of the tomatoes, take out the seeds with a spoon then stuff the tomatoes with the mixture. Put the tops back onto the tomatoes. Place on a high shelf of the oven for 25-30 minutes, until the skin is just starting to colour and slightly curl.

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