These stuffed tomatoes go well with lamb dishes and whole roast fish. They also make an excellent starter. Get the best-quality, ripest tomatoes of this size you can find which are still fairly firm.
Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas 3½.
Carefully slice off the top of each tomato and set aside – you’ll be using them later as ‘lids’. Scoop out the flesh and all the seeds, taking care that each tomato’s basic structure remains intact, and place in a bowl. Season the scooped-out tomatoes with salt, pepper and a sprinkling of sugar. Set aside.
Heat a splash of olive oil in a large heavy pan. Sweat the onion, courgettes, garlic and oregano until thoroughly cooked. Add the rice, reserved tomato pulp and juice. Season, cover and cook until the rice is 95 per cent cooked. Stir in the chopped herbs and set aside for about 5 minutes to cool a little – the rice will finish cooking in this time.
Stuff the tomatoes with the rice mixture, put the ‘lids’ back on, drizzle with olive oil and bake for about 20 minutes.
© 2008 Anthony Demetre. All rights reserved.