One of the observations I often hear about Greek cuisine is that the food tastes so much better than over here in North America, and often many wonder “why?” Greek cuisine shines when ingredients are used that are in season, and when it’s the middle of summer, that means tomatoes! I was recently sent a tray of field tomatoes from the California Tomato Farmers, where warm days and cool nights offer an ideal environment for growing tomatoes. Tomatoes in California have been grown by family-owned farms that span three generations.
These tomatoes are available in the market from May to November and one should wait about four days from purchase for the tomatoes to fully ripen. This will definitely vary as some stores have tomatoes riper than others. Greeks love stuffing vegetables and it may be zucchini, eggplant, peppers or in today’s case, tomatoes (or all these vegetables in one roasting pan). Today’s dish is about simplicity and allowing seasonal ingredients to carry the flavours of the dish: extra-virgin olive oil, scallions, herbs, rice, tomato pulp and the tomatoes themselves as the vessel. When slicing a tomato, the sharp serrated knife is best. What are some of your favourite tomato recipes? Leave a comment and you may win a serrated knife and cutting board set from California Tomato Growers.
Tomatoes With Rice & Herbs (serves 4-6)
12-14 medium-sized ripe California tomatoes
2 bunches of scallions, thinly sliced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cups long grain rice, rinsed
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 cup chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
2-3 tsp. sea salt (to taste)
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
Pre-heated 375F oven
- Wash your tomatoes and remove the stems. Slice the top of each tomato (but leave a bit attached to act as a hinge) and use a pairing knife to cut the inner membranes. Now carefully spoon out (use a grapefruit spoon) the flesh of each tomato and place each in a deep baking dish/roasting pan that will tightly fit all the tomatoes and sprinkle salt in the inside of each tomato. Puree the tomato pulp and reserve.
- Pour 1/2 cup of olive oil in a skillet and add your scallions and garlic. Stir and sweat for 5-7 minutes until soft and translucent. Now add your tomato puree and simmer for another five minutes. Add the rice, the herbs (dill, parsley, mint) and stir in, then take off the heat. Add your salt and pepper, stir in, and allow to cool.
- Using a spoon, stuff your tomatoes (push the filling down with your fingers if need be) and cover with the tops. Repeat and stuff your remaining tomatoes.
- Pour the remaining olive oil over all the tomatoes plus enough hot water to come halfway up the tomatoes. Sprinkle coarse sea salt and fresh ground pepper and place in your pre-heated oven (uncovered) for 60-70 minutes or until the tomatoes are golden-brown on top.
- Serve with some good crusty bread, a slab of Greek Feta and a glass of Greek wine.
Now, to enter for a chance to win a serrated tomato knife and cutting board, tell me, what are some of your favourite recipes that include tomatoes?
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The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 8/6/2013 – 8/31/2013
Be sure to visit the California Tomato Farmers Page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win!
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