My beloved is home for the summer which means I have to prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. My challenge is to prepare things we can both eat without having to cook or prepare two different meals. My new regime – fish-eating vegan – means I have had to broaden my repertoire – no bad thing. This week a recipe by Rome-based blogger Rachel Roddy in The Guardian caught my eye.
My other half enjoys stuffed vegetables called petit farcis niçois, a popular local dish which uses forcemeat whereas this recipe uses rice. I’ve had to amend the original recipe to eliminate the cheese and reduce the amount of oil but, nonetheless, it was still delish and made use of plentiful local produce.
Ingredients (serves three)
- 6 ripe, firm, fleshy, medium‑size organic red tomatoes
- fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 medium garlic cloves
- 1 small dried red chili pepper (optional)
- 6 tbsp short-grain brown rice
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 kg potatoes, peeled and cubed
- Cut the tops off the tomatoes and set them aside. Use a teaspoon to scoop the insides – flesh, seeds and juice – into a bowl, taking care not to pierce the skin. Sprinkle a little salt in the cavity of each tomato and then put them cut-side down on kitchen paper towel so that any excess juice can drain away.
- Liquidise the tomato flesh, seeds, juice, garlic and chilli pepper. Add the rice, season with salt and pepper, stir, then leave for at least 45 minutes during which time the rice will absorb some of the liquid and start to swell.
- Toss the potato cubes in the olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
- Sit the empty tomato husks in a lightly greased oven-proof dish or baking tin. Spoon the rice mix into the shells so they’re not quite full, then put the lids back on. Scatter the diced potato around the tomatoes.
- Bake at 180C/160C fan/350F/gas mark 4 for around 60 minutes, or until the tomatoes are soft and starting to shrivel, the rice is plump and the potatoes golden. Allow to sit for at least 15 minutes before diving in and eating.
Sheree’s Handy Hints
- The tomatoes are the star of the show. Buy the very best you can find.
- You could add nutritional yeast to the tomato water to compensate for the loss of savoriness from the cheese but I didn’t feel it was necessary.
- My beloved decided to add a dollop or two of sauce vierge to his dish, a container of which was lurking in the fridge. It’s essentially fresh herbs, lemon juice, lemon zest, a clove of garlic, capers, cornichons and olive oil whizzed up in the liquidiser. It’s delicious on grilled fish and meat.