These stuffed tomatoes are a delicious addition to the many variations on this theme. The directions are easy to follow and execute and the results were richly flavorful. As sonnerlady suggests, it was important to let the tomatoes rest before serving which allowed the juices to be absorbed, so don't expect to serve these directly from the oven. To me the amount of saffron required seemed extravagant—in both portion and price—so I used 1/4 tsp (that equates to a very large pinch) and felt it still delivered plenty of saffron nuances. The other derivation I made (due to household dietary issues), was to use organic short grain brown rice instead of carnaroli. I parboiled it like pasta for 15 minutes, then drained but didn't rinse it, resulting in perfectly cooked rice for this recipe, with the added benefit of whole grains. - Amber Olson —The Editors
medium-small Heriloom Tomatoes
small green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
garlic cloves, peeled & crushed
dried chili flakes
Italian Parsley leaves
Saffron Threads, steeped in 1 TBSP. boiling water
Olive Oil, plus a little more, if desired
Maldon Sea Salt, or to taste
slivered almonds, (optional)
In This Recipe
Remove the stalks from the tomatoes and then turn them over. Using a small, sharp knife, slice through about a fifth of the way down the tomato, to give little caps. Reserve these for alter. Now, using a teaspoon, carefully scoop out all of the tomato's insides into a bowl. Place the hollowed-out shells in a roasting dish that will accommodate them snugly.
Put the green bell pepper, garlic, chili, parsley, paprika, and infused saffron (along with its water) into a food processor and pulse until the ingredients are evenly but coarsely chopped. Now tip in the tomato pulp with a generous 1/3 cup of the olive oil and process further until the entire mixture is a sloppy, seedy, and oily tomato pap, with the other solids now more finely processed and in suspension.
Put the rice into the bowl that previously held the tomato pulp. Pour the tomato pap from the food processor over it, mix well, and season with salt to taste. Leave to soak for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Fill the tomatoes with the rice mixture. Don't be tempted to overfill, there may be a little left over, but do make sure that as much liquid as possible is included, even if it overflows into the dish. Replace the little caps onto the tomatoes and trickle the remaining oil over (plus a little more, if you like).
Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes, turning the heat down a touch if the tomatoes are browning too much, but browned and blistered they certainly must be! Taste a little of the rice to make sure it is fully cooked, although it will also continue to swell and tenderize as it cools. Serve at room temperature, for preference, basting well with the juices and oil just before serving.