So you’ve been to the farmers market and loaded up your bag with beautiful vegetables. That whole box of yellow squash and lots and lots of tomatoes. Now what?
I always get questions from friends about how to use squash (other than squash casserole) and for interesting ways to use tomatoes. And I am just as guilty. I buy and buy, wanting to soak up every last bit of summer bounty.
I love this vividly summer dish as a twist to traditional stuffed tomatoes and a unique way to highlight Southern summer favorites. Sure, there is a little work involved, but it pays off in spades. Look for medium-sized, firm tomatoes that just fit in the palm of you hand. Grating the squash takes a few minutes, but do use the small side on the grater to give you a fine, almost mousse-like filling. These beauties can be the centerpiece of a stunning vegetable plate with field peas, greens, and fresh corn or a side dish for a meatier meal.
Tomatoes stuffed with summer squash
6 medium tomatoes
2 yellow squash
1/2 small yellow onion
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Cut a small slice off of the top of each tomato and use small spoon to scoop out the seeds and pulp, leaving a nice little hollow cup. Sprinkle the insides lightly with salt, then turn them upside down on several layers of paper towels to drain for 30 minutes.
2. Grate the squash on the fine holes of a box grater and place in a colander. Leave to drain for 30 minutes. Transfer the squash to a clean tea towel and twist and squeeze to remove as much moisture as possible. Grate the onion on the same small holes and add to the squash.
3. Melt the butter with the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat, then add the squash and onions. Sauté for about 5 minutes, until the squash is soft, stirring frequently to avoid browning. Stir in the chopped oregano. Pour in the heavy cream and cook, stirring frequently, until the squash has absorbed all the cream and is thick and there is no cream left in the pan. Stir in the Parmesan cheese until melted, then remove the skillet from the heat and leave to cool slightly.
4. Place the tomatoes in a lightly oiled baking dish in which they fit snuggly – basically holding each other upright. Spoon the squash into the tomatoes, filling the hollows and pressing down, but be gentle so you don’t break the tomatoes. Fill the tomatoes, but don’t leave mounded squash overflowing. You may have some filling leftover – chef’s treat!
5. You can cool and refrigerate the tomatoes for a few hours at this point.
6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the tomatoes for about 20 minutes, until heated through but the tomatoes are still holding their shape. Serve immediately.
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