This is a great dish to make when there is surplus of everything, even the basil to garnish. You can add other other seasonal vegetables to this stuffing, just keep the dice small, and vegetables mild in flavor. I added a small zucchini when I last made this dish, and I’ve also added sweet peppers, sweet white turnip, new potatoes, and chopped green beans. Use any type of leftover rice you have on hand or substitute with another cooked grain, but always include the roasted corn. Choose bruise-free fruit, that is firm but ripe. I plan this when I have roasted corn the day before, and also have rice leftover from another meal, usually a nutty brown jasmine rice, my house staple. And yes, I’ve used leftover steamed rice from Chinese takeout as well!
To prep: Butter a 9” X 13” baking dish, rectangle or oval. Place a double thickness of paper towel or kitchen towel on a rimmed baking sheet, and position a strainer over a bowl where you will drain your tomato pulp.
Cut off the tops off:
- 6 firm, fat tomatoes
Reserve the tops for the baking. Scoop out the flesh and seeds, taking care to keep the shell of the tomato in tact. The best method is to use a sharp paring knife to slice around the edge, leaving a thick wall, then switch to a grapefruit spoon (or the little orange scoop you get in the pumpkin carving kit!) and remove all the pulp.
Place this flesh in the strainer, once drained, you will add it to the stuffing. Reserve the drained liquid for another use.
Place the tomatoes shells cut side down on the towel-lined cookie sheet. You will want the tomatoes to drain for a half hour or so to remove any excess juice; this will allow them to keep their shape in the oven.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
In a shallow sauté pan, heat to foaming:
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tbsp. butter
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 rib celery, diced
- 1 poblano pepper, diced
Once the vegetables are soft but not brown, add:
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
Cook for a minute or so, until the garlic is fragrant. Place in a mixing bowl and add:
- 2 cups roasted corn
- 1 cup cooked rice
- The reserved tomato flesh, chopped if necessary
- 1 tbsp. each fresh basil & parsley, minced
- 1 tsp. fresh rosemary, minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
Mix well, and adjust seasoning. You might want to add more herbs, or different types, use what you like best, and taste as you go.
Place drained tomato shells in the prepared baking pan and scoop ½ cup of the stuffing into each, gently packing it in. If you have a little left over, mound it up. Place the little tomato tops back on, and cover with foil.
Bake on the middle rack for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375. Cook for another 25 to 30 minutes or so. The dish is done when the skin starts to wrinkle, but the tomatoes are still in tact. The kitchen will smell really good just about then!
Garnish abundantly with basil leaves!