Friday, May 01, 2009

I take no responsibility for what you do next

I’ve been obsessing thinking about those stuffed baked tomatoes a lot lately.

And by ‘a lot’ I kind of mean ‘almost exclusively.’

They are on my brain. Because they are good. Every time I look at my struggling little someday-beefsteak-tomato plants, I find myself launching into this fantasy where I’m making them for lunch and dinner something like six times a week.

So I thought I’d share. Because if I’m gonna gain 5,000 pounds this summer, by golly, I want everybody ELSE to, too I’m generous that way.

So. What you need:

2 cups béchamel sauce
6 large ripe tomatoes (not TOO ripe – it’s best if they don’t have any mushy bits)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons chopped spring onions (including green tops)
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
2 cups chopped, cooked spinach – drained and pressed to remove as much water as possible
1 cup yes one full CUP freshly grated Parmesan (dudes…you can see where this is going…)
1 cup chicken stock
Salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 375, and get your béchamel together (that recipe is below, in case you don’t have one you already love).

Slice the tops off your tomatoes, then scoop out the pulp and seeds. Turn them upside down to drain while you move on.

Melt the butter over medium heat, add the onions and parsley and sauté a little of the ornery out of them, about two minutes worth. Add the spinach and cook until the moisture has all evaporated, stirring constantly.

Slowly add your béchamel sauce and stir until thoroughly blended. Add 1/2 cup of the cheese, then salt and pepper to taste.

Flip the tomatoes back upright in a baking dish. Sprinkle them inside with a little salt and pepper, then ladle your spinach mixture into them. Pour 1/2 cup of chicken stock around the bases.

Pop it into the oven and bake until the tomatoes are soft, roughly 40 minutes. Baste about every fifteen minutes with the broth, adding more as needed.

Remove from the oven, sprinkle the remaining cheese over the tops, and pop it back in until the cheese is browned and extra-delicious, about five minutes.

Congratulate self for eating yummy, healthy tomatoes and spinach. So mature! (Conveniently forget about fat content of butter, cheese, and milk.)

Béchamel sauce:

3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon paprika
1 cup chicken stock, heated
1 cup milk, heated
Salt and white pepper

Melt the butter over medium heat, add the flour and cook, stirring, until blended – about a minute. Add the paprika.

Gradually add the milk and stock, stirring constantly with a wire whisk. This is making a sauce, so the constant stirring helps to keep it smooth and creamy instead of lumpy and gakk-y.

Continue to whisk over low heat until smooth and slightly thickened, about five minutes. It isn’t going to set up like pudding, so don’t make yourself crazy when it doesn’t.

Season to taste with salt and pepper, then raise the heat to medium and simmer away for a couple minutes – that lets the flavors blend together.



Louiz said...

mmmm. And being someone who can't eat cheese, it looks like it's purely optional in that recipe...

I might just be persuading Himself (the cook in our family) to try this one:)

Science PhD Mom said...

Mmmmmmmm...sounds yum! Will give it a try with my own tomatoes this summer--thanks!

Cimorine said...

mmmmmmmm, yum! I'll print that out and see if mom wants to make it sometime!