The Eldest Progeny, who is a creative and fine cook, told me about this recipe he found in Cook’s Country, and thought it sounded interesting and delicious. I didn’t have the recipe, so I winged it. It flew pretty well, I think. I suspect the original recipe used Roma tomatoes, but the Romas in the store didn’t look all that great and they were pretty small. So I bought some nice, round, tennis ball-sized hot-house tomatoes.
I cored the tomatoes as shallowly as possible, then turned them upside-down and cut them, into roughly 1/4-inch thick slices, but not all the way through, about 5 slices. Whenever I hasselback anything, I use chopsticks as a “stop” for the knife. You can hasselback almost anything—potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, eggplant, plantains and tomatoes. My next hasselback adventure will be with eggplant, I think.
Make the stuffing: Chop the basil leaves coarsely, then stir together the basil, mozzarella, garlic, onion, and salt and pepper. Divide into four portions.
Using a small spatula or teaspoon, drop a heaping teaspoon on filling into each slice as you gently separate them. Drop it as close to the base of the slice as possible. Then, gently press the slice against the next slice; repeat until you’ve used one portion of the mixture. When each tomato is “stuffed”, place them in the baking dish. Drizzle some olive oil over each tomato, and sprinkle very generously with parmesan cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the tomatoes are on the soft side, just cooked through. Serve with good bread to soak up any juices. These hold the heat for awhile, so be careful when eating them. They are really tasty as warm-room temperature. I think one could stuff these with a spinach and dill mixture, instead of basil. They emit quite a bit of juice, so I think next time, and there will be a next time, I’ll toast some slices of French-type bread and place the tomatoes on those. Don’t you think that would be tasty? The Goddess loves to dip and sop up juices with good bread…she’s a dipper!
Hasselback Tomatoes with Basil-Mozzarella Filling
- 4 large Roma tomatoes or medium-sized hot-house tomatoes
- 1/2 cup somewhat coarsely chopped fresh basil
- 3 ounces fresh mozzarella torn into small bits
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated garlic
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated onion (or 2 teaspoons very finely diced scallions)
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Olive oil
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Heat the oven to 350°F. Oil the baking dish well; set aside.
Place a chopstick on each side of the tomato. Make 5 or 6 cuts in each tomato, allowing the knife to stop at the chopsticks—thus you will be slicing each tomato not quite all the way through. Set them aside. Combine the basil, mozzarella, garlic, onion, and salt and pepper. Stir until completely combined; divide into four portions. Using a small spatula or teaspoon, gently separate the slices and drop a heaping teaspoon on filling as close to the base of the slice as possible. Then, gently press it against the next slice; repeat until you’ve used one portion of the mixture. When each tomato is “stuffed”, place them in the baking dish. Drizzle some olive oil over each tomato, and sprinkle very generously with parmesan cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the tomatoes are soft and just cooked through. Serve with good bread to soak up any juices.
NOTE: I think it would be a good idea to place each cored tomato, cored top-down on a slice of French-type bread. Bake as suggested. This would allow the juices to absorb better. It’s a thought!
Hasselback Tomatoes with Basil-Mozzarella Filling Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2019. All rights reserved.