Saturday, June 22, 2013

Aunt Katie's Stuffed Tomatoes

You know a recipe is good when it comes handwritten on an index card covered in greasespots.

Sometimes the scruffiest things are the best things.

My mother learned how to cook from her Italian aunt-in-law, who learned how to cook from her French mother-in-law. Hence these stuffed Creole tomatoes.

What is a Creole tomato, you ask?

Tomatoes in an existential crisis. "I feel so empty inside!"
A Creole tomato is any variety of tomato grown in Louisiana. I don't know the science, but apparently Louisiana has special soil that produces extra-flavorful tomatoes. A real Creole is covered in splits and crags. That's how you know it's a good one.

Before bread crumbs
After bread crumbs


Unfortunately, and for reasons unbeknownst to me, it's hard to find those big, ugly, beautiful Creoles anymore. The Creoles at the market today are more proportional and less tasty. Still good, but not the same. Whatever happened to those ugly, delicious Creoles? We'll have to get Poppy Tooker on the case.

Agricultural mysteries aside, these stuffed tomatoes are I-spend-all-year-dreaming-about-June good. Plus, they freeze beautifully. 

Where did this saliva all over my keyboard come from? Oh, that's right-- my mouth.

Recipe: Stuffed Creole Tomatoes


6 tomatoes
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 green onions, chopped
1/2-1 hot pepper, chopped (or a pinch of cayenne)
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
ham seasoning (or not, if you're a pescetarian like me...they're also delicious sans animaux)

Scoop pulp out of tomatoes and set in a bowl. Fry onion in cooking oil until brown. Then add ham (if using), green onion, garlic, and pepper. Cook until all browns. Add tomato pulp and cook for about 10 minutes. Let boil and add salt. Add about 1 1/2 cups of bread crumbs. Mixture should have a pasty consistency. Cook for a while. Turn off fire, add parsley, and mix well.

Fill tomato shells with mixture. Top with bread crumbs and a pat of butter. Place in foil-lined pan Do not place in a foil-lined pan! Aunt Katie didn't know it, but acid and aluminum do not mix. Place in a pan and bake at 450 degrees until bread crumbs brown.

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