Saturday, September 19, 2009

101 Uses for a Ripe Garden Tomato: #24 & 25--Stuff It! & Get Saucy

Last night we had two dishes that featured tomatoes: Baked tomatoes stuffed with riso pasta and oven-fried eggplant slices with slow roasted tomato sauce. We served a small green side salad as well, and because I couldn't decide which wine would be best I served two--a French Cabernet/Shirah blend and a Viognier. (I think the red won hands down.)

I've never made stuffed tomatoes, but figured it couldn't be too hard. I sliced the top 3/4" off two beefsteak tomatoes and dug out the seeds, meat, and gel, leaving about 1/2" shell. I sprinkled them with salt & pepper and then turned them over to drain. (Saved all the juices, gel, and meat, of course.) I sauteed some shallots and garlic* in olive oil, and then added them to (about 2 cups cooked?) riso pasta (like orzo, but a bit smaller), with a lot of chopped fresh basil* and shredded mozzarella, adjusting everything until it tasted just right. I stuffed the tomatoes, sprinkled them with more mozzarella, and baked them alongside the eggplants slices at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes, then turned the low broiler on for a few minutes until the tops were browned.

You're right, this isn't a tomato. How observant of you.

However, I did serve the eggplant with homemade roasted tomato sauce. I roasted some San Marzano tomatoes* and Black Plum tomatoes* with a few whole garlic cloves* at 250 degrees for a few hours, then smooshed it through my food mill. I sauteed some sweet onion* & minced carrots* in olive oil for a few minutes, then added minced garlic* and sauteed some more. I added the roasted tomatoes and simmered, adding tomato drippings (from the stuffed tomatoes), red wine (Cab/Shirah mentioned above), and a TBSP of tomato paste until I was satisfied with the result.

The eggplant? Easy-peasy (and surprisingly good). Slice eggplant into 1/2" slices. Salt generously & let sit in colander for...I don't know how long; until you're ready to move on. Lay the slices on layered paper towels or clean kitchen towels and blot out as much water as possible. Coat with a mixture of 1 egg & 1/2 - 1 TBSP sour cream and then a mixture of panko crumbs & seasoned bread crumbs. Bake at 400 degrees about 20-25 minutes, turning after 10 minutes. to keep them nice & crunchy, serve the tomato sauce and freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano on the side.

Nom Nom.

*Grown with love in the O-garden.

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