C’est le temps des tomates rengorgées de soleil.
Time for Homegrown Tomatoes Full of Sun
When summer started, I remember the day when I caught a glimpse of the first locally grown Heirloom tomatoes. Big, red, round tomatoes full of sun! I could not resist and came home with a basket full. I was really excited. Being able to buy local vegetables always makes me feel connectée à la terre (connected to the ground). Really! A tiny detail like this has this effect on me. My tomatoes were so big that I knew I needed to cook them in a special way. I wanted them to not disappear inside a dish, but be the dish. All on their own. Of course, they would have been perfect for a fragrant tomato sauce, or a ratatouille, but I decided to dress them differently and chose to make des tomates farcies (stuffed tomatoes).
Tomates farcies — Stuffed Tomatoes
I get a lot of satisfaction from digging and refilling a vegetable. Tu creuses et tu rebouches ! (You dig and you refill!) Besides the fact that I find stuffed vegetables cute to serve, I have a special tie to tomates farcies: they are my mum’s food. As I am writing this, I actually remember a funny story about her tomatoes. During one summer, my parents had a few Italian workers helping with the installation of the back balcony located by the vegetable garden. Every day, we would check on how ripe the tomatoes were, hoping each time that we would be able to pick a few for lunch. But they did not seem to turn red. Day after day, the only color we could discern was the green of the tomatoes. Nothing red despite the summer warm sun. But one day, we finally understood what was going on. We went outside and caught the culprit la main dans le sac (red handed, literally, the hand in the bag).
—Je ne peux pas résiter à vos tomates Madame P.. Elles sont trop bonnes !
(I cannot resist to your tomatoes Mrs P. They are just too good!)
Of course, this explained it! This was why they were disappearing so quickly. How could Italians resist those juicy red treasures!
Unlike with ratatouille, I knew that every time my mum cooked tomates farcies, she was doing so to please my brother and I — and my dad of course — because we simply adored them. Nothing could beat those sweet homegrown stuffed tomatoes, from dipping bread in the sauce to savoring each bite of them. And, every single time we ate them, it felt as if it could have been the first time.
This recipe is not the one my mum used to make since her stuffing included meat, and my dish is vegetarian. We are in the middle of the tomato season and every day, I make a trip to my local farm to get more! I am a bit obsessed with them, really! I like to touch them; I particularly love their irregular shape, and by squeezing them gently, to feel how juicy they are. So I know that I will be making more — we already had them twice this week –, and I will surely include other variations of tomates farcies.
Good to know I am not the only one obsessed. As examples:
- 4 large local tomatoes
- 2 countrystyle bread slices, with crust
- 1 red onion
- 1 Tbsp savory, chopped
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1 small zucchini
- 1 oz parmesan, grated
- Wash the tomatoes and slice the top part, about a half inch thick (keep them).
- With a sharp spoon, remove the seeds and flesh inside. Place in a bowl and set aside.
- Sprinkle the inside of the tomatoes with salt and turn them open face down on a cutting board. Leave them like this for 30 to 40 mns.
- In the meantime, slice the onion thinly.
- Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a frying pan and cook the onion for 5 mns until softer.
- Cover and reduce the heat to cook it for about 30 mns.
- Preheat your oven at 350 F.
- Slice the zucchini in julienne and keep it.
- Dice roughly the tomato flesh.
- Chop the bread in small cubes.
- Mix the bread with the diced tomatoes.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the zucchini julienne, onion and chopped savory. Mix well.
- Place the stuffing in the tomatoes.
- Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and place the top (le chapeau — the hat) of the tomatoes.
- Add a splash of olive oil on top of each.
- Place in the oven and cook for 30 mns.
- You might have stuffing leftover. Cook it in a frying pan for 15 mns or so. Very nice as well!
- 4 belles grosses tomates du jardin
- 2 tranches de pain de campagne, avec la croûte
- 1 oignon rouge
- 1 càs de sarriette hachée
- Huile d’olive fruitée
- Sel et poivre
- 1 petite courgette
- 30 g de parmesan râpé finement
- Lavez les tomates et découpez un chapeau dans chacune d’entre elles.
- Retirez la chair et les pépins que vous réservez dans un bol.
- Salez l’intérieur des tomates, retournez-les sur un plan de travail pour les faire dégorger pendant 30 à 40 mns.
- En attendant, émincez l’oignon finement.
- Faites-le revenir dans de l’huile d’olive et une fois qu’il a sué (5 mns), couvrez.
- Cuisez à feu doux pendant 30 mns.
- Coupez la courgette en julienne et réservez-la.
- Concassez la chair de tomates.
- Coupez les tranches de pain de campagne en croûtons.
- Mélangez-les à la chair de tomates.
- Salez et poivrez.
- Ajoutez les oignons, la julienne de courgette, et la sarriette. Mélangez bien.
- Farcissez les tomates avec cette préparation.
- Saupoudrez de parmesan, remettez le chapeau et enfournez dans un four préchauffé à 180 C.
- Arrosez d’un filet d’huile d’olive.
- Cuisez pendant 30 mns.
- Il vous restera de la farce. Ce n’est pas grave, faites-la revenir et cuire dans une poêle avec de l’huile d’olive pendant 10 à 15 mns, c’est rustique et très bon!