This is a traditional recipe from my childhood in France. As the summer brought the most flavorful tomatoes, I simply couldn't get enough of these bursts of flavor!
- 12 large Ripe Tomatoes (peppers and zucchini are great as well)
- 1 lb. of Ground Pork Sausage (ground beef/turkey/chicken are great substitutes)
- 2 large Onions, diced (should be about 2 cups)
- 2 Fresh Eggs
- 5 Garlic Cloves, minced
- 2 cups of Fresh Bread Crumbs, unseasoned
- 1 tbsp Herbes de Provence
- Olive oil
With the residual heat of your oven, no fire or embers, aim for a temperature between 400° F and 500° F.
Use the insulated door of your oven to retain all the moisture and flavor. This will also allow you to cook at a higher temperature to get lightly caramelized tomatoes and maximum flavor.
A great way to make fantastic fresh bread crumbs is to cut thin slices of leftover bread about 1/4" thick, and place on a cookie tray in your brick oven. Let them toast until golden or light brown. Simply place in a large bowl and gently crush them with a rolling pin.
- Rinse the tomatoes. Remove about 1/2" of the top part of the tomatoes, where the stem was attached. Keep those as they will be used to make a lid on top of your stuffed tomatoes.
- With a spoon, core out the inside of the tomatoes to remove all of the seeds and juice. Put a little bit of salt in the tomatoes and set them up side down on a grate above a pan or the sink to catch the juice.
- In a mixing bowl, combine ground sausage, diced unions, bread crumbs, eggs, minced garlic, Herbs de Provence, salt, and pepper. Mix by hand until all of the ingredients are thoroughly incorporated.
- Stuff the tomatoes so they are slightly over filled and place them in a lightly oiled dish. Metal or clay dishes are great as long as they are oven-safe.
- Place the tomato caps on top of the freshly stuffed tomatoes and bake for 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours depending on your oven's heat. The internal temperature will be 165° F and the tomatoes will be golden brown in color.