Stuffed Tomatoes With Rice & Herbs

IMG_0952One 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.

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Stuffed California

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

1 cup extra-virgin Greek olive oil

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

hot water

Pre-heated 375F oven

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Serve with some good crusty bread, a slab of Greek Feta and a glass of Greek wine.

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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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This giveaway is open to US and Canadian Residents (excluding Quebec) age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.

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!

© 2013,
Peter Minakis

. All rights reserved.

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52 Comments for “Stuffed Tomatoes With Rice & Herbs”

says:

Peter, these look absolutely scrumptious! I must say, I have tried making yemista a few times – using in-season tomatoes – and every time the result is fine, but flavour-wise still miles away from what is served in Greece. Not sure where the secret is. Did you get the same result as you may get in a taverna somewhere in Thessaloniki?

says:

Peter – This is so similar to an Italian dish that’s popular in Rome. I love these tomatoes stuffed with rice and I can imagine they’d be really wonderful this time of year with all our fresh Jersey tomatoes. I’m also partial to a good dish of pasta made with roasted tomatoes.

Margot C

says:

I make a gorgeous pizza with no sauce but sliced fresh tomatoes and fresh mozzarella cheese and even fresh basil leaves.

Amy Morgan

says:

These look awesome! We grow tomatoes in our garden. If I can keep the children away from them long enough (they love them with salt and pepper right off the vine!) I plan to use this recipe! Thanks!

Angela Ash

says:

I love bacon, egg, cheese & fresh tomato sandwiches. I also like bacon, lettuce, tomato & mayo sandwiches.

Lisa V.

says:

My favorite dish to make with tomatoes has to be one that goes with one of my favorite foods….bacon. A good old bacon and tomato sandwich…easy and tasty.

susan smoaks

says:

I like to make homemade salsa with tomatoes. i use totamoes, onion, salt, pepper and a can of rotel.

Katherine Newton

says:

I’ve never tried tomatoes like this but I am going to have to try! Looks delicious.

Lorena Keech

says:

We love Fiesta Rice and especially on a cold, rainy day, we crave Mexican Chicken Soup. It is spicy and filling, we love it.

Tabathia B

says:

I love tomatoes in a BLTwith mayo and I get my kids to eat them by adding them to salads

tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com

Cathy Truman

says:

We like BLT’S and we like chili and I make a homemade salsa with tomatoes from our garden.

Betty C

says:

I love tomatoes stuffed with chicken or tuna salad, freshly made salsa and BLT’s. Of course I also love them just sliced with a bit of sprinkled salt.