Let me tell you about my weekend.
Friday night I watched the freight trains. Saturday I snuck into a cinema, sat front row and laughed my head off at a Hammer horror matinee.
On Sunday, having been ejected from the N29 mid-route, I was forced to trudge my way home on foot. As I passed through a particularly leafy part of North London I found myself suddenly in the midst of a farmer’s market, having wandered carelessly into the shambolic series of stalls.
Faced with the silent, ruddy expressions under those flatcaps, I purchased a pound of tomatoes and made my escape.
Tomatoes! The ingredient with a thousand faces! The tomato can be raw or cooked, peeled or pureed; it can wheedle its way into salads and sauces, like a particularly deft identity thief concealed beneath oversized sunglasses at passport control.
This dish is filling without being stodgy, flavoursome without being overbearing, and so simple even someone blinking away a pharmaceutical blur can make it!
So, as amphetamines settle onto tongues, lets begin stuffing these tomatoes in preparation for the inevitable comedown.
First we behead the tomatoes. If you think of the point that tomato meets stalk as the “head” then we slice that off.
We proceed to scoop out the insides. I recommend a sharp spoon for this, using a scoop-and-gouge motion. (Do check my notes regarding spoon sharpening in the addendum)
Now, don’t think we’re putting those pulpy tomato guts to waste. They are going into a pot with some risotto rice and seasonings of your choice. Cooking the rice as normal until ever so slightly al dente, we spoon the whole lot back into the hollow tomato bodies and cauterise the wound with parmesan to bring this Franken-tomato together.
Once in the oven the tomatoes will shrug off their former crisp vigour, slouching into an elderly corpulence. On the outside the skin peels and cracks, inside the rice and juices embrace one another. Thicker now, softer, yielding, compliant.
Ingredients (per tomato)
- 1 large tomato
- 25g risotto rice
- ½ red onion
- ¼ courgette
- 1 tbsp grated parmesan
- herbs to taste