I first came upon stuffing tomatoes last summer, when my über green thumbed friend Stephanie shared some of her bounty with me. Resembling bell peppers, stuffing tomatoes are thick walled, hollow and generally juice free.
Not a well known tomato, I was delighted to find them recently at the farmer’s market, at the Crazy Farm booth. I almost over looked them and when I realized they were there, I may have squealed. Bonus, I happened to be at the market that day with two chef friends who had never heard of them, so my food geek flag was flying high and proud as I shared my knowledge.My friend Jennifer happened to have wandered over the day I was whipping up this particular dinner. As I was slicing into the tomatoes, explaining to her what they were, I realized I had promised said chef friends a blog post detailing both what these tomatoes looked like and what I did with them. I quickly grabbed my camera for a few shots, then proceeded to make dinner. (Otherwise known, as how I generally go about blogging about dinner.) We’ve covered here before that if I would only put more effort into my photos and food styling, I might be taken seriously as a food blogger.
Of course, I forgot to take pictures along the way (because I was babbling away with said friend), so forgive me if the photos jump from the tomatoes on the cutting board straight to the unstylized finished product. I know, I know. Bad food blogger.
I used the leftovers from a recent Mexican inspired dinner – a stir fry of summer squash with beans and rice – to stuff the tomatoes. I alternated layers of the rice and beans with shredded cheese and fresh salsa to keep everything moist. With the rice & bean mix the top layer, I covered the baking dish and popped it in the oven at 350 for about a half hour. At that point, I removed the cover, topped with more cheese and placed it back into the oven until the cheese on top melted, about 15 minutes.
Stuffing tomatoes are not necessarily known for their flavor. I find that by combining them with other varieties (like I did with the salsa), adds a depth similar to when mixing apple varieties. Because they are so similar to bell peppers, I’d imagine you could follow your favorite stuffed pepper recipe. In this house, we are far bigger tomato fans than we are bell pepper fans, which is why I get so giddy when I get my hands on these varieties. While I have been able to find them down at the farmer’s market this season, your best bet is going to be growing them yourself. Something to remember when the seed catalogs start coming in next January – because let’s face it, when you garden, you are always planning ahead to next year’s garden. Right?