Stuff tomatoes with corn bread for summer treat
This is the season of the tomato. Beautiful, juicy orbs are everywhere — at roadside stands, farmers markets, in the groceries and, for a lucky group, in their home gardens. You can serve tomatoes sliced, sprinkled with coarse salt, and drizzled with a hint of balsamic vinegar, or you can include them in green salads. Of course, they’re perfect additions to all manner of sandwiches. However, the following recipe shows that they can be a star attraction, too.
For this colorful and flavorful side dish, large summer tomatoes are scooped out, filled with a homemade corn bread and chorizo stuffing, and then baked. The homemade corn bread is simplicity itself and takes only 20 minutes to prepare from start to finish. The tomatoes can be assembled ahead and then put in the oven for only a short time when needed. They would make a delicious partner to grilled chicken, steaks, shrimp or lamb.
• 6 large (8 ounces each) red tomatoes
• Kosher salt
• 2 cups Quick Skillet Corn Bread crumbs (recipe follows)
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 3 ounces (2/3 cup) finely diced Spanish-style chorizo
• 1/2 cup chopped onion
• 1/2 cup diced sweet orange or red bell pepper
• 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
• 1/2 teaspoon cumin
• 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
Cut a 1/4 inch slice from the top (stem end) of the tomatoes and save the slices for another use. Using a paring or grapefruit knife, cut out the seeds and membranes from the cavities. Salt the insides of the tomatoes and turn them upside down on a plate to stand for 10 minutes.
Place the corn bread crumbs in a large mixing bowl. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium-size, heavy skillet set over medium heat. When hot, add the chorizo, onion and bell pepper. Stir and cook until the chorizo is lightly browned and the vegetables are softened, for about 5 minutes. Add to the corn bread crumbs and mix well. Stir in the cilantro and cumin. Cool completely, and then stir in the eggs. Spoon the stuffing into the tomatoes, packing it well and mounding on the top. (The tomatoes can be prepared 6 hours ahead; cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before baking.)
Arrange a rack at the center position and heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Arrange the tomatoes in a lightly oiled baking dish and bake until the stuffing is lightly browned and hot, for 15 to 20 minutes. Do not overcook, or the skin of the tomatoes will start to break. Transfer the tomatoes to a serving platter.
Makes 6 servings.
• 4 teaspoons vegetable oil
• 2 large eggs
• 3/4 cup buttermilk
• 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
• 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 cup yellow cornmeal
Arrange a rack at the center position and heat the oven to 450 degrees. Pour the oil into an 8-inch cast-iron skillet (or a heavy, ovenproof skillet). Place the pan in the oven to heat for 3 minutes.
Whisk the eggs and buttermilk together in a large bowl. Whisk in the remaining ingredients. Carefully pour the hot oil in the skillet into the batter. Whisk to combine, then pour the batter into the skillet. Bake until a tester comes out clean, for about 15 minutes.
Cool the corn bread and then break half of it into chunks, saving the extra corn bread for another use. Process in a food processor to make coarse crumbs.