Celebrating Modern Jewish Living Through Food, Tradition, and Family
Stuffed tomatoes are the perfect side with just the right amount of cheese, bread crumbs, and seasonings. Better yet, they cook up in 10 minutes or less!
The Backstory: At just about every Bar and Bat Mitvah I attended growing up in New York, there was always a gorgeous meal served after a ridiculously decadent smorgasbord (which, by itself, could have fed a small army). I remember, even as a child wondering why, after walking around and eating for an hour, we were sitting down to have yet another meal. To this day, I’ll never understand the meal that comes after what seems like (let’s face it, it is) a full on buffet meal. But that’s another conversation for another day. More of the Backstory after the recipe…
- 2 tsp. olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 cup dried breadcrumbs
- 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 4 medium to large, beefsteak or on-the-vine tomatoes
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling over top of tomatoes
- 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- non-stick baking spray
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add onion and saute until onion is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add olive oil, bread crumbs, salt and pepper and cook for 2-3 minutes until bread crumbs are well combined and golden. Remove from heat and add 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and mix well. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick spray.
Slice the top off the tomatoes and scoop out and discard the flesh and liquid. Fill each tomato with the onion, cheese and breadcrumb mixture. Place the tomatoes on the baking sheet. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the top of each tomato and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 30 minutes.
So, after the cruise-like smorgasbord, comes the multi-course dinner. At the table, amidst the crystal and the four-tier rose arrangements, and the centerpieces and the printed menus, and the party favors…well, you get the idea: many of these events are insanely extravagant and so I was always a little perplexed by what showed up next to either the petite filet or the poached salmon or the prime rib or whatever the main entree was. First, there was some creamy/crunchy swirly potato thing. Okay, fine. But then: the broiled tomato. Just sitting there, like the vegetable that had to be added the plate because the plate 1) needed some color or 2) you have to serve a vegetable.
It just didn’t go with the whole gestalt of the event. All this elaborate, over-the-topness, and then…a sagging, broiled tomato? I sort of felt sorry for it.
And so, I always vowed when I started to cook, to never serve a plain broiled tomato. Too pitiful and blah. Jazz it up, stuff it with some good, delicious flavors, or serve it with some basil and sea salt and balsamic and let it be fresh and juicy and not depleted from all its goodness.
This savory and cheesy stuffed tomato is my version of what I need to believe that broiled tomato was supposed to be.
P.S. In about three years, my three kids will be having their Bar and Bat Mitzvahs all together (God help me), in a decidedly not over-the-top manner, I must add, LOL.
Not on the guest list: broiled tomatoes. Always invited: their stuffed, juicy, full of flavor, texture, and goodness, cousins.