Home again after almost two months of travel: Milos, Woodstock, Ontario, Nashville, New York, Toronto and Barcelona. No wonder my suitcase is looking so shabby. It’s been more than wonderful reconnecting with family and friends, discovering new places and enjoying being back in familiar ones.
Beth, here is the tomato starter you asked for. To be totally honest, I haven’t made it in years. After a delicious al fresco dinner on a gorgeous summer evening in Paris, I tried to recreate our first course. It got a big thumbs up from everyone at the time and I liked this version even better.
One good sized tomato is enough for a starter while two with a tossed herb salad makes for a tasty lunch or light supper. It is super, super easy to make.
Apologies to Ellen who hates cooked tomatoes! Try stuffing yellow peppers instead – I’m sure it would be good and you would have such pretty colours.
For the tomatoes:
4 medium to large ripe tomatoes
300 grams approx (about 2 cups) fresh cheese – I used a combination of fresh goat cheese and crumbled feta because the fresh cheese seemed too liquid. If you can’t get fresh goat or sheep cheese try a combination of feta and cottage cheese.
1/3 cup finely chopped parsley
1/3 cup finely chopped chives
1 medium minced spring onion white and green parts
freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 180 degrees centigrade/ 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Set the tomatoes on the stem end and slice off the top. Hollow out the tomatoes. Season with pepper. Use the tomato juice and flesh in another recipe or throw them out and feel guilty.
Mix cheese and herbs together and add pepper to taste. Taste before adding any salt – chances are you won’t need any. Don’t be afraid to add more parsley and chives if you like.
Fill tomatoes with cheese mixture and replace tops. Place in a baking dish. Bake for about twenty minutes. It’s optional but adding a little water in the dish keeps everything moist.
For the coulis:
1 large roasted red pepper or 4 small canned
pinch smoked paprika
1/2 small clove of garlic finely minced
1/4 cup best olive oil
fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
Process first 4 ingredients in a mini-processor. Add juice of 1/4 of a lemon. Taste and add more if needed. Season to taste.
Serve the tomatoes warm or at room temperature with some coulis and mini-toasts spread with black olive paste.