July 25, 2011

Les Tomates Farcies

Tomates Farcies

Every summer, gardens explode with an abundance of tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant and string beans. At the same time every food blog and cooking website explodes with an amazing variety of tomato, zucchini, eggplant and string bean recipes.

Boredom is not an option.

In my opinion, the classic French summer dish, Tomates Farcies, is never boring. Especially if you bake a big batch, freeze half, then heat some up for dinner in the middle of winter, when lazy summer days, and juicy summer tomatoes, are a distant memory.

Of course, there are many of us in France this year who are already considering summer a distant memory...


The recipe I use comes from Susan Herrmann Loomis' living in France memoir, One Rue Tatin.

Danie's Stuffed Tomatoes  
Tomates Farcies 
  • 2 slices fresh bread (about 2 ounces/60g each)
  • ½ cup/ 125ml whole milk
  • 4 pounds/ 2 kg juicy tomatoes
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons/30ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, green germ removed, minced
  • 8 ounces/250g button mushrooms, trimmed, wiped clean and diced
  • 1 ¾ pounds/875g lean ground pork
  • ¼ cup/10g fresh tarragon leaves*
  • 1 cup/10g loosely packed flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 large eggs
1. Preheat oven to 425° F / 220° C / gas 8.

2. Tear the bread into bite-sized pieces and place it in a small bowl. Cover it with the milk, press the bread down so it is completely covered, and let it sit until it has absorbed all the milk, about 30 minutes.

3. Slice the top off each tomato and reserve it. Remove the seeds and most of the inner pith of the tomatoes and discard. Lightly season each tomato inside with salt and pepper.

4. Heat the oil with the onions and garlic in a medium skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until the onions are translucent, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and transfer the onions and the garlic to a medium-size bowl. Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until they have given up their juice and are tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer the mushrooms to the bowl of onions and garlic.

5. Add the bread and milk to the ingredients in the bowl, along with the pork. Mince the tarragon and the parsley together and add it to the bowl along with the eggs. Blend the mixture thoroughly, using your hands. Season with salt and pepper and blend well. Cook a teaspoon of the mixture and taste it for seasoning - adjust if necessary. (I must admit that I usually skip that last step)

6. Evenly divide the stuffing among the tomatoes, pressing it firmly into them, and mounding it above the edges of the tomato if necessary. Place the tops of the tomatoes atop the stuffing (another step I omitted) and bake until they become a deep gold, the stuffing is completely cooked, and the tomatoes are tender, about 1 hour. Remove and drizzle with pan juices.
6 to 8 servings

*I often use fresh rosemary or fresh thyme in place of the tarragon, which is difficult to find where we live Pin It
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