Sunday, March 07, 2010

Baked Tomatoes Stuffed with Ham, Green Olives, and Parmesean

These are from Marcella Hazan's cookbook, Marcella Cucina. They are THE BEST, THE MOST DELICIOUS stuffed tomatoes that you will ever put in your mouth. As my grandmother would say "They'll make your tongue slap your brains out". They make a delicious first course or side dish with roasted or grilled meats, but I also love to make them as an hors d'ouvre by using a smaller tomato. Just reduce the baking time to about 12-15 minutes. As you know, I have picky eaters in my family. So, for my husband, I make these with capers instead of olives which he hates. I don't think they're quite as good, but they're still good. I also use whatever good ham I have, smoked or not.

Serves 12 as an appetizer or 6 as a first course.

Preheat oven to 400

6 medium-large ripe, firm, round tomatoes, almost 3 inches across
2 ounces boiled, unsmoked ham, chopped fine, about 1/2 cup
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
12 green olives, pitted and chopped finely or substitute capers
2 tbl chopped Italian parsley
2/3 cup freshly-grated Parmigiano-reggiano
5 tbls extra virgin olive oil
salt, black pepper
2 tbls fine, dry unflavored bread crumbs

Wash the tomatoes & cut them in half across their width. Scoop out the seeds. Place them, cut side up, on a baking pan large enough to hold them snugly.

In a small bowl combine the ham, onion,olives,parsley, cheese, 4 tbl of the oil, salt & pepper and mix thoroughly.

Stuff the tomatoes, mounding slightly. Sprinkle with bread crumbs and drizzle with remaining oil. Bake for about 30-35 minutes until light brown. Serve warm, but not hot.

You can bake these ahead and reheat in a 350 oven until lukewarm.

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