These stuffed tomatoes are fabulous as a light lunch or supper but would sit alongside any light meat or grilled fish as an accompaniment. Choose the best, firm but ripe tomatoes you can find, the Vesuvio variety are ideal.
- 4 decent portion sized tomatoes
- Celery salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Sprinkling of caster sugar
- Splash of olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 courgettes, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 100g basmati rice
- 1 tablespoon chopped mint
- 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
Preheat the oven to 170°C. Carefully slice off the top of each tomato and set aside – you’ll be using them later as ‘lids’. Scoop out the flesh and all the seeds, taking care that the tomatoes retain their basic structure intact, and place in a bowl. Season the scooped-out tomatoes with celery salt, pepper and a sprinkling of sugar. Set aside.
Heat a splash of olive oil in a large heavy pan. Sweat the onion, courgette, garlic and oregano in this until thoroughly cooked. Add the rice, reserved tomato pulp and juice. Season, cover and cook until the rice is 95% cooked. Stir in the parsley and mint, and set aside for about 5 minutes to cool a little – the rice will finish cooking as it does so.
Stuff the tomatoes with the rice mixture, put the ‘lids’ back on, drizzle with olive oil and bake for about 20 minutes. Leave to cool slightly before serving.
Chef proprietor – Wild Honey St.James & Vermuteria.