Bright red summer tomatoes are about to seriously steal the spotlight at your farmers market—and make your grocery bags a whole lot heavier. (Produce lugging=weight training!)
They’ll really start to take over the stalls in July and dominate in August, making them juicy additions to just about any dish you’re whipping up for a picnic, BBQ, or dinner all season long.
Lest you get stuck in a caprese salad rut, Scott Daigre’s recipe from his new book Tomatomania! is a slightly less expected tomato dish that riffs on the classic Oysters Rockefeller. You basically stuff and bake the tomatoes with greens, homemade croutons, and a little goat cheese.
“It’s a fresh twist on an old favorite that you can make with any large tomato,” explains Daigre, who’s a seasoned gardener and head of Tomatomania!, an all-things-tomato-growing-and-eating organization.
And while we’re waiting for our invite to one his tomato tastings, we’ll be making this perfect summer recipe. —Amy Marturana
2 pounds ripe but firm tomatoes (about 5 medium)
1 cup day-old country-style bread, diced into ¼-inch cubes
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 medium clove garlic, minced
1 medium bunch green onions, roughly chopped, including tender green stems (about ¾ cup)
¾ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more for drizzling
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cups baby arugula, loosely packed (about 1 large bunch), tough stems removed and torn into 1-inch pieces
2 ounces well-chilled goat cheese, crumbled
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Slice the tomatoes in half, length- or width-wise, to make little tomato “boats.” If your tomatoes are too narrow to slice in half, slice the top third off of each. Scoop out the insides with a spoon and smash the flesh over a colander-lined bowl. Place the tomato halves upside down on paper towels to drain.
Place the cubed bread on a baking sheet and bake until lightly toasted, 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside to cool.
Heat a small saucepan over medium-high heat and toast the fennel seeds, shaking the pan occasionally, until the seeds just begin to brown, about 2 minutes (they will not darken significantly). Coarsely grind the seeds in a mortar and pestle with a generous pinch of salt. Add the garlic, 1 tablespoon chopped green onions, and Worcestershire sauce and continue to grind until you have a rough paste. Stir in the lemon juice, olive oil, and pepper. Set the dressing aside.
Lightly drizzle a 9- or 10-inch baking dish with olive oil. Snugly arrange the tomatoes side-by-side, cut side up, in the dish. Sprinkle the tomatoes lightly with salt and bake until the flesh just begins to soften, 5 to 6 minutes for juicy varieties such as beefsteaks, and 7 to 9 minutes for firmer varieties such as paste tomatoes. Remove the tomatoes from the oven and reduce the temperature to 350°F.
Meanwhile, combine the arugula, remaining green onions, one cup drained tomato flesh (reserve the tomato water for another use), toasted croutons, and lemon-fennel dressing in a medium bowl. Mix well and fold in all but 2 tablespoons of the goat cheese.
As soon as you remove the tomatoes from the oven, divide the mixture evenly between them, packing each tomato tightly with filling. Sprinkle the remaining goat cheese on top.
Bake until tomatoes are tender (but still hold their shape when pierced with a sharp knife) and the arugula has wilted slightly, 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the size and variety of tomato. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve immediately.
Excerpted from the book Tomatomania! by Scott Daigre and Jenn Garbee.