I’m not the biggest tomato fan, but I LOVE this recipe for stuffed and roasted tomatoes. Well, let me clarify. I do not dislike tomatoes, nor do I avoid eating them. But they usually don’t inspire my taste buds. Except, again, for this recipe.
These roasted tomatoes are tender, sweet and tangy, with the most delicious, savory and herby stuffing. The use of fresh sourdough breadcrumbs, with the mix of seasonings, give the stuffing a nice chew in the center with the most wonderfully crispy outer shell. And unlike many other stuffed tomato recipes out there, the stuffing does not include a soft, melty cheese. Not that those recipes aren’t good, but adding a melty cheese makes it a different dish. The seasoned crumble of the stuffing is what makes this particular dish.
I first ran across a version of this roasted tomato recipe in my William & Sonoma Breakfast cookbook. And from the very first making, I felt I had to change it up a bit. Namely, I used bigger tomatoes, added mint, increased the olive oil, and added much more parmesan. AND I decided that, although it is a clever and original breakfast side dish, it really is delicious enough as a side for any meal. Or as a vegetarian entrée on its own.
Let’s make these Stuffed Roasted Tomatoes
The key to why these stuffed tomatoes are so amazingly delicious is the use of fresh sourdough bread crumbs. Their contribution to both texture and taste is irreplaceable. And it’s a wonderful way to re-purpose what’s left of an aging loaf. You can use homemade or store-bought sourdough.
To make the fresh breadcrumbs, remove the crust from slices of sourdough bread that is just past its peak. Process in a blender or food processor until the size of bread crumbs.
Be sure to use ripe, but firm tomatoes. Soft tomatoes will cook too quickly, and may fall apart in the roasting process.
Start by removing the stems and then cutting the tomatoes in half crosswise. Then, using a small spoon, scoop out the seeds and juice, leaving the membranes. My tomatoes had a very thick membrane through the middle, so I carved down a bit of that to make more room for the stuffing.
Here’s a tip: turn the tomatoes cut-side down after scooping the seeds and juice to allow any remaining juice to drain out. They bake better when a little drier.
Drizzle 1/4 teaspoon of the balsamic vinegar into the cavities. The balsamic adds to the inherent sweetness of the tomatoes, while also contributing a nice tang. Then sprinkle the tomatoes with a bit of salt.
Next, mix the ingredients for the filling. Be sure to toss everything very well so that the olive oil is evenly distributed. The olive oil will make the bottom layer moist and chewy while helping to add a nice crispy caramel color to the outer crust.
Stuff the tomatoes by first filling the cavities. Once all the cavities have been filled, top the tomatoes off so they have a shallow dome of filling, pressing down lightly to give them shape and keep the filling in place. Don’t press too hard or it will pack the filling too tightly and will detract from the “crumble” aspect you want.
Line an oven-safe dish or pan with tin foil (for easy cleanup), and spray with a little cooking spray to prevent the tomatoes from sticking. Then place the tomatoes in the pan. It is ok to crowd them a bit since they will shrink somewhat during roasting.
Roast at 450° F for about 20 minutes. If the outer crust begins to brown too much, it is ok to cover the pan with a sheet of tin foil in the last couple of minutes or so. Just lay the sheet of foil flat, without crimping the sides, or the tomatoes will steam instead of roast, and the filling will not be crispy.
You should get something that looks like these little beauties here. Aren’t they gorgeous? And boy, the smell is just divine!
Look at those! I can’t begin to tell you how simply delicious these are.
The flavors are seductive. All the ingredients come together to form a perfect blend of taste and texture.
The tomatoes are tender, but still have shape and form. The savory blend of garlic, herbs, parmesan, and sourdough complement the sweetness of the base to a T. It really is just a lovely, lovely dish!
Steve was on the road, so my lunch consisted of two of these wonderful little bundles of yumminess. I saved the other two for him for dinner.
I let them come to room temperature, then covered the dish with tin foil, keeping them on the counter. Do not refrigerate the roasted tomatoes, or they will lose much of their flavor and texture. Since I was only holding on to them for half a day or so, keeping them covered on the counter was just fine.
To re-heat them, I placed them in a cool oven and set it to a keep warm setting. This allowed them to slowly warm up without re-roasting them. I served them with the “brinner” I made for Steve, with some sunny side up eggs and breakfast sausage patties. Proving that it is a delicious breakfast side too!
Breakfast, lunch or dinner, you will fall in love with these Parmesan and herb stuffed roasted tomatoes. So, give them a try!
Parmesan and Herb Stuffed Roasted Tomatoes
- 2 large ripe firm tomatoes (9-10-oz each)
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup fresh bread crumbs past-their-peak sourdough slices, crusts removed, processed into crumbs
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped Italian parsley
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped mint leaves
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- Ground pepper
- Cooking spray
- Pre-heat oven to 450° F.
- Line an oven-safe dish or pan with tin foil and spray lightly with cooking spray.
- Cut the tomatoes in half crosswise. Using a small spoon, scoop out the seeds and juice, leaving the inner membranes. Turn cut-side down to allow further draining of juices.
- Mix the remaining ingredients, adding a generous amount of ground pepper.
- Salt to taste.
- Toss well to ensure everything is evenly distributed.
- Drizzle 1/4 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar into the empty cavities in each tomato half.
- Sprinkle some salt over the tomatoes.
- Fill first the cavities of the tomatoes, and then top the tomatoes with the remaining filling so that they have a shallow dome of filling on top.
- Press lightly to shape and keep the filling in place, but without packing the filling too tightly.
- Bake for 20 minutes until the tomatoes are tender and the filling is golden brown on top. Cover lightly with a sheet of tin foil in the last few minutes, if necessary, to prevent burning the outer crust.
- Serve warm.