These little gems are Marglobe Tomatoes all dressed up for summer. I thought about doing some sort of savory, cheesy tart to highlight garden tomatoes, but my husband requested a lighter meal for dinner. I wanted to do something a little more special than a salad, with more components than simply roasting them....and then, while flipping through the pages of Bon Appetit, this recipe jumped off the page and was exactly what I was looking for.
Can I tell you a little bit about how much I love Mediterranean cuisine? I adore it, actually. Those flavors are what I want to taste, especially in the summer. I could have been an Italian, I love pasta so much. And the way they have with vegetables? Inspired. I love Greek food, anything French (especially the south i.e. Nicoise salad), Northern African/ Moroccan food fascinates me and I would consider a trip to Spain almost heaven. I love it all. This recipe has a little bit of everything. Shall I go down the list? Chorizo? Check. Anchovies? Check. Capers? Check. Basil? Check. And every one of these flavors amplifies the taste of garden-fresh tomatoes and makes them into something extraordinary.
Anchovies are your friends, by the way. Don't be scared. They're delicious.....as long as they are incorporated into something. I'm not a big fan of an anchovy staring up at me from a piece of pizza, honestly. But. When they are slowly melted into a tomato sauce or a salad dressing, they become something else entirely. And that's exactly what happens to them inside the tomatoes. They melt away, leaving only these qualities: earthy, salty, rich and savory. And they do amazing things for this dish in particular. Tomatoes need salt. Anchovies add another dimension of saltiness that satisfies my craving for savory every time.
Actually, all of the ingredients in this stuffing add a little something unique. Capers give their briny tang, chorizo gives its salty spice, basil gives off its lemony licorice perfume, olive paste binds everything with a rich meatiness that only olives have and finally, prosciutto draped over the tomatoes' shoulders give a light, melting essence of pork that is just subtle enough to blend with everything else.
Tomatoes Stuffed with Chorizo, Olives, and Anchovies
A note about serving: I highly recommend having some sliced, toasted baguette rubbed with garlic handy to serve with these. Depending on how much flesh you are able to scrape out of your tomatoes, they may or may not gush tomato juices all over your plate when you cut into them. I just want you to be prepared so you don't miss a single slurp, because it's delicious.
8 medium tomatoes ( about 2 1/2 lb. total)
Olive oil ( for brushing and drizzling)
3 oz. smoked Spanish chorizo, finely chopped (about 2/3 c.)
1/3 c. drained capers, chopped
1 hard-boiled egg, peeled, finely chopped
1 2-oz. tin anchovy fillets, drained, anchovies minced
3 T. finely chopped cipolline or white onion
1 T. tapenade
8 large basil leaves, thinly sliced, divided
4 thin sliced Serrano ham or prosciutto ( about 2 oz.), cut in half lengthwise
Cut 1/3 inch from bottom of tomatoes. (I assume this is to keep the tomatoes from rolling around. Mine weren't very roll-y so I skipped this step after the first one I cut ended up being too thin on the bottom. If your baking dish is just big enough to fit all the tomatoes, you shouldn't have that problem, anyway.) Using spoon, scoop out most of flesh. Place tomatoes, cut side up, in 11x 7x 2-inch baking dish. Brush inside of tomatoes with oil, then sprinkle with salt. Mix chorizo and next 5 ingredients in medium bowl. Stir in about half of basil. Divide filling among tomatoes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush top and outside of tomatoes with oil. Bake until softened and filling is hot, about 30 minutes. Place on plates. Wrap each with a piece of ham. Sprinkle remaining basil over, drizzle with oil and serve.