It’s mid-August—and I’m worrying about tomatoes. I don’t feel like I’ve gotten enough this Summer. Maybe it was that whole salmonella scare thing—I’ve eaten those little grape ones and have had a good slice on a burger or two but I just haven’t gotten into tomatoes this year. I know, that’s like, blasphemy. I felt thoroughly ashamed by Deb’s post—the woman freakin’ dries them. Others out there are making tomato tarts, salsa, preparing tomatoes sauces; I, on the other hand, made a bolognese last week… with canned tomatoes.
The problem is that I’m just not all that inspired by tomatoes in the Summer. Tomatoes, on most accounts, make me think of winter. Of thick sauces. Of chili. Of roasted tomato soup. Summer tomatoes, for me, are a sideshow—sliced on a sandwich, or thrown in with some buttery avocado for guacamole. I hardly ever come up with a dish that makes a tomato the star.
Not so for this one. Down the street from my new house, there’s a few crates in front of someone’s house, filled with peppers, peaches, melons, green beans, and, of course, tomatoes. The tomatoes at this humble market are not your ordinary variety—they are big uglies. Meaty, juicy, and ugly. I knew that they would need to be stars. So I grabbed two, placed two dollars in the plastic bag that accepts your money (I just love living in a town that is that trustworthy!) and thought of the Boucheron that I had in the fridge.
Boucheron-stuffed tomatoes were born. They are absolutely simple. Cut the top off your tomato and scoop out some flesh (but not too much, remember that the tomato is the star), then fill it with any herbs you have, some, garlic, and Boucheron (or any other semi-soft cheese you love.) Cook until bubbly. Then all you have to do is savor the summer’s star, tomato.
- 2 large, heirloom tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons of any herbs you have—I used basil, tarragon, thyme, and chives, chopped
- 1 large clove of garlic, finely chopped
- salt, pepper
- 1/4-1/3 cup Boucheron, or any other semi-soft goat cheese, cream cheese, or blue
Preheat the oven to 400º. Cut the tops of your tomatoes. With a spoon, scoop out some seeds and flesh, but not much since the dish should remain mostly tomato. Set in an oiled baking dish.
In a small bowl, throw chopped in herbs and garlic and a bit of salt and pepper. Mash everything together with the back of your fork for a few seconds, then fill the bottoms of the tomatoes with this garlic mix. Put a few bits on the rim of your tomato for prettiness.
In another small bowl, mash the cheese to crumble it up. Then fill the tomatoes—you should mound it, don’t press the cheese in too hard or you’ll hurt your precious tomato. Sprinkle with salt and pepper again and bake for 10-20 minutes, or until cheese is melted and tomato skins have begun to split.
Let cool for a few minutes before serving. This dish goes delightfully with some chicken risotto and a good white wine.