Thursday, June 28, 2018

On the MENU this Week. Spanish Tomatoes stuffed with Tuna

We had this as a starter in Madrid and it was one of the best dishes we ate while we were travelling. Lynne was determined to make it here, so it was tonight’s supper. You do need the ripest, most flavourful tomatoes you can find. If you don’t eat fish, you might like to substitute the tuna with hard-boiled egg, or small aubergine or courgette cubes diced and browned in olive oil 
4 medium ripe red tomatoes – 1 small tin of tuna in oil – ¼ cup of dry breadcrumbs – half a small red pepper, finely chopped - 5 sprigs fresh parsley – 1 T fresh basil – black pepper – 1 t sherry or wine vinegar - salt - Olive oil – 25g grated cheese
You should use Spanish Manchego cheese but, as it is hard to find, use a mix of mature English cheddar* and parmesan
Take off the tops of the tomatoes and carefully scrape out the core and the seeds, leaving just the outside body of the tomato (don’t throw the insides away; with the lids they make a wonderful salsa or can be added to soups and stews)
Salt the inside of the tomatoes and leave them turned upside down to drain for an hour. Throw away any of the salty juice that comes out. Mix the breadcrumbs with the tuna, red pepper and the herbs and add a teaspoon of olive oil. Season well and stuff the mixture into the tomatoes, pushing it well in until they are full and come right up to the top. Then add about a Tablespoon of the breadcrumbs to the cheese and, pressing well down, put a thick cap of cheese on top of each tomato
Put them into an ovenproof dish which has a cover and put into a 180°C oven and bake for 25 minutes. 
Remove the cover and put the dish under a grill until the cheese has a lovely brown crust on it. As with most Mediterranean food, these tomatoes are best served lukewarm; they have more flavour, so you can make them in advance. And you can, of course, double up the recipe if you have more guests. 
* We buy good English cheddar under the Wyke Farms label at Checkers. It is very reasonably priced and has the proper “bite” which is usually lacking in local cheddars
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