- SERVINGS: 4
Serve these tomatoes as a first course or side dish, or double the recipe and turn them into a main course with rice.
- 4 medium tomatoes
- 1/2 cup milk
- One 2-inch piece of crustless baguette, torn into 1/2-inch pieces
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
- 1 cup shredded romaine lettuce
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped basil
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400°. Cut the top third off each tomato and reserve. Scoop out the seeds and flesh from the tomatoes, leaving thin but sturdy walls. Sprinkle the tomato shells with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and turn them upside down on a rack to drain for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, warm the milk in a small saucepan. Remove from the heat and add the bread. In a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the sausage and cook, breaking up the pieces with a wooden spoon, until browned and no longer pink inside, about 8 minutes. Add the lettuce and cook until wilted, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and let cool.
- Remove the bread from the milk and squeeze dry. Add the bread, parsley, basil and eggs to the sausage mixture and stir to combine. Season with 1 teaspoon of salt and the pepper.
- Set the drained tomato shells in a gratin dish and fill with the stuffing, mounding it slightly. Set the tomato lids on top. Drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the tomatoes and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the tomatoes begin to collapse and wrinkle. Serve hot or at room temperature.
A medium-bodied, inexpensive red with good fruit and herb and spice flavors will complement the herby sausage filling. Choose a Merlot-Malbec blend from Cahors, or a Merlot.