This is an especially easy dish to prepare and to serve. I merely take tomatoes that have been hollowed-out and roasted, fill them with a tabbouleh-like salad and heat them up in the oven for a few minutes. They work perfectly as a course by themselves or as an accompaniment to salmon or swordfish.
Satisfying Vegetarian Recipes
8 small heirloom tomatoes (e.g. Yellow Taxi, Cherokee or Valerie)
Peel the tomatoes and cut a 3/4-inch slice off the bottom of each, reserving them for lids. Scoop out the seeds and the center flesh. Rub the insides with a little Herb Oil and put a clove of garlic, a sprig of thyme, a sprig of tarragon, a bay leaf and a basil leaf in each tomato. Put the lids on and roast at 325°F for 10 to 12 minutes or until the tomatoes just begin to soften (not so long that they lose their shape). Remove and discard the garlic and herbs.
Warm the couscous over a double-boiler and stir in the mushrooms, tomato concassée, pine nuts, cucumber and corn one at a time until they are thoroughly incorporated. Stir in the olive oil, chopped chives, tarragon, mint and basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Spoon the warm couscous salad into the hot tomatoes and top with the lids. Rub the tomatoes with a little Herb Oil and return them to the oven for 5 minutes. Place 2 tomatoes on each plate, garnish each with 2 chive pieces and serve.
The sweetness attained by the tomatoes when they are roasted makes them an excellent vehicle for the additional rich flavors of pine nuts and chanterelles. This complex tomato dish, made more substantial by the couscous, will stand up to a medium-bodied red wine. The mint and basil suggest an herbally influenced wine, like Sangiovese. The fruitiness of this wine works well, while its zesty finish resolves the sweet tomato flavors.
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