Tomatoes stuffed with basil and garlic

Tomatoes, fresh basil, garlic and olive oil…. All are available now at our market. Together they form the basis of many a great summer dish. Including this one for baked tomatoes, which delivers great flavor with a minimum of fuss.

Tomatoes stuffed with basil and garlic

4 medium-large firm ripe tomatoes
2 fat cloves of garlic, halved lengthways
4 large basil leaves
olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Find an ovenproof dish that will hold tomatoes snugly – you want a tight fit. Core tomatoes at the stalk end. Use a paring knife, or even a small apple corer, taking care not to perforate tomatoes at their base. Stuff half a garlic clove into each cavity, followed by a large basil leaf. Season well with salt.

Place tomatoes upside down (core down) into an ovenproof dish. Pour olive oil over and around the tomatoes, enough to film the bottom of the dish by a good ¼ inch. Slide dish into a 350F oven for about an hour, or until the tomatoes are soft, somewhat wrinkled, and starting to brown. To serve, carefully spoon out tomatoes onto individual plates with a puddle of their fragrant oil.

Note: Serves 4 as an accompaniment to fish, chicken or lamb. Any left-over oil can be stored in the fridge and used for dressing pasta or salads.

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