August 17, 2012

stuffed cherry tomatoes, three ways

A few months ago, we bought three healthy, thriving tomato starts from a vendor at a farmer's market. We planted, fertilized, and watered them, but alas, juicy, sweet, home-grown tomatoes from our garden were not to be this summer. We really haven't had much success at all with growing tomatoes, aside from a few scant cherry tomatoes last summer. I'm mystified as to why, though it's probably no mystery to more experienced gardeners than me. For tomatoes, I guess I'll have to depend on local farmer's markets until that lucky season when we successfully harvest our own.


Tarragon and Lemon

If you are one of those fortunate tomato gardeners, and you have a surplus of cherry tomatoes, this recipe is a versatile appetizer that won't require much cooking with heat other than hard-boiling the eggs. For more depth of flavor, take a couple of minutes to make your own homemade garlic mayonnaise, also known as alioli, using this virtually fool-proof immersion blender method. I've included three suggestions for combinations of flavors and a simple ratio for the egg base below so you can make as many or as few stuffed tomatoes as you want. Most everything can be prepped ahead of time if you need to; let the finished egg mixtures sit for awhile before scooping onto the tomatoes and serving so the flavors come together thoroughly.


Thyme, Oregano and Balsamic Vinegar

Inspired by Nitza Villapol's "Tomate Rellenos" (Stuffed Tomatoes) from her cookbook Cocina Al Minuto, this recipe is really just a starting point; if you're inspired by other favorite herbs, spices or seasonings, let your palate be your guide. It's simply another way to enjoy the season's fruit, whether homegrown or from your local farmer's market.


Sumac and Celery Seed

Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes, Three Ways
(inspired by Cocina Al Minuto by Nitza Villapol)

Egg Filling Base:
3 eggs, hard-boiled
3 tablespoons homemade garlic mayonnaise
3/8 teaspoon sea salt
3/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Flavor Variations:
Tarragon and Lemon
1/2 teaspoon finely minced fresh tarragon leaves
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Thyme, Oregano and Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 teaspoon finely minced fresh thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon finely minced fresh oregano leaves
1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Sumac and Celery Seed
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1/4 teaspoon ground sumac
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Note: The basic ratio for the egg filling base is one tablespoon mayonnaise to one egg, seasoned with 1/8 teaspoon sea salt and 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper. Using this ratio you can increase the amount of egg filling base as needed, and adjust the amount of ingredients for the flavor variations accordingly. The basic ratio amount makes enough filling for about 5 cherry tomatoes.


Hard boil (see this tutorial on how to boil eggs) the number of eggs you need for the amount of stuffed cherry tomatoes you will be making. Cool and then peel the eggs, and refrigerate until ready to use. Make the garlic mayonnaise and refrigerate.

Prep the ingredients for each flavor variation, adjusting the amounts in proportion to the amount of egg base used, and set aside.

Slice the hard-boiled eggs into large chunks, and put in the bowl of a food processor. Add the garlic mayonnaise. Process until smooth and fluffy. Sprinkle in the sea salt and ground black pepper and process briefly. Scoop mixture into three separate bowls, dividing evenly among the bowls. Add the different flavors to each bowl, and stir to combine. Refrigerate for at least an hour or as long as overnight to develop the flavors thoroughly.

Wash and dry the cherry tomatoes. Cut a very thin slice off the bottom of each tomato to create a flat base. Cut a thin slice off the top of the tomato, and cut a small well in the center of the tomato, removing the cut out piece. Scoop a little bit of the egg mixture into the hole to fill, then scoop about a tablespoon of filling on top of each tomato half. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


Makes about 15 stuffed cherry tomatoes

2 comments:

  1. I have yet to harvest one tomato either. I'm going to break down this year and do what every gardening class has told me to do. Send your soil in for testing. It's not that expensive, I don't know why I've never done it.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Marty,
      I've heard of testing the soil pH yourself but didn't know you could send soil in for testing. You'll have to keep me apprised of the results if you have your soil tested.

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