Happy Tomatoes

I created a new dish recently that packed some huge flavor as well as was versatile enough to be a main dish or hors d’oeuvre. It was a play on a stuffed tomato, and I did it with a combination of leeks, Roma tomato, feta cheese and bacon (well I used fake bacon to appease the vegetarians who were partaking). The flavor was awesome, with the smokiness of the bacon, the tang of the feta, the earthiness of the leeks and the coolness of the tomatoes, all contributing. It came together very well – and better yet – very easily.

I first cooked my leeks. I used a single large leek for four small/medium tomatoes. With leeks, you need to cut them down the middle first and wash them very well, as there can be sand residue remaining inside the veggie. After washing it, I chopped the leek into manageably small pieces and threw them in a pan with some extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. I cooked them on medium heat, keeping them moving a lot, so they could pick up the heat and the flavors in the pan. I did not want them crispy, so I kept the heat down and cooked them just until they were tender and glistening.

In the mean time, I had sliced my four small Roma tomatoes in half, lengthwise. These were smaller than normal Roma tomatoes, but either size would work. Perhaps the larger for an entrée and the smaller for a finger food or side. I scooped out the insides of each tomato half with a large soup spoon and preserved the insides on a cutting board. I set the tomato halves to one side and roughly chopped what I had just scooped out.

The leeks took about 10 minutes to cook, and the bacon/fakon about 4, so about halfway through the leeks cooking, I fired up another pan and added a little extra virgin olive oil. When it was hot, I added in 4 slices of Fakon, roughly chopped. I crisped it in the pan for a few minutes and then removed it and added it to my chopped tomato-insides in a mixing bowl.

When the leeks were finished I added them to the mixing bowl as well, and then added about 3 ounces of chopped feta cheese. I mixed the stuffing up and then took a spoon and stuffed each tomato so that it was heaping over the top. I packed the stuffing in so that it wouldn’t fall out. I did this for all eight tomato-halves and placed each stuffed tomato onto a single cookie sheet so that they were not touching. Once all were stuffed, I placed the sheet in a 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes, just to bond all the flavors and cook the tomato.

What came out was absolutely delicious. One of the best flavor combinations that I have ever derived from scratch – and just so easy to eat and enjoy! It was going to become my new secret weapon dish – one I bring to impress friends and family – but I decided it would be best to share it here with you first. So enjoy!

No comments: