As this is a classic French dish I have kept its French name but it is basically stuffed tomatoes to you and me. It’s not fancy in any way but a really delicious everyday supper dish. I prefer veal mince but if it’s not available use pork mince and you really need the big beefsteak (Coeur de Boeuf) tomatoes. They tend to be sold slightly underripe so try and buy them a few days in advance and keep them out at room temperature to improve their flavour.
- 4 beefsteak tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
- 300g veal mince
- 70 g rustic white bread e.g. sourdough, crusts removed
- 120g gruyère cheese, grated
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped tarragon leaves
- 1 medium egg, beaten
- To serve Crusty bread and green salad
- Slice the top off each tomato and scoop out the core and seeds. Place cut side up on absorbent kitchen paper and leave for 15 minutes to drain.
- Heat the oil in a saucepan and sauté the onion and garlic over a low to moderate heat for 10 minutes, being careful not to let the vegetables colour too much. Take off the heat and leave to cool.
- Place the mince in a mixing bowl. Soak the bread in cold water for 5 minutes then squeeze out any moisture and stir into the mince. Stir in the cooled onion mixture, 70g of the grated cheese, herbs and egg. Season with salt and ground black pepper and mix together really well.
- Heat the oven to 200˚c, fan oven 180˚c, mark 6. Fill the tomatoes with the stuffing and place in an ovenproof dish. If there is any leftover stuffing roll into balls and place around the tomatoes. Sprinkle over the remaining 50g cheese and bake for 45 minutes. Serve with crusty bread and a green salad.