It’s officially summertime here folks. Temperature going up to 46C and lack of beautiful green veggies in the market. Clear indicators that the terrible terrible Delhi summers are well upon us. That said, I am sure many of you reading this from many different parts of the world are hopefully enjoying better weather. I try and write posts on recipes which has fresh produce and ingredients that is easily available around the world usually at any given time. However, since it is mad hot here, it’s time for recipes that are not too hot owing to the ingredients used in them, or are very rich and heavy. Summers call for easy, grilled, fresh and light dishes and that’s exactly what I am going to give you guys.
When we talk about easy, grilled and fresh, Greek and Mediterranean food in general comes to the very top of the list. Greek cuisine calls for lots of fresh veggies, lean meat and crazy amounts of olive oil. Well of course it is upto the cook to decide how much olive oil to use 🙂 When it comes to Greek comfort food, stuffed tomatoes (Yemista) rank very high up. These are cooked in multiple ways – rice is always a part of the stuffing accompanied by either ground meat, veggies, tomato pulp or feta. My version has just rice, tomato pulp and feta. I wanted to make this super simple and quick but like I said, you’re free to add any veggies or ground meat you like.
Greek Stuffed Tomatoes
Serves 2| Prep time: 10 min | Cook time: 20 min
Tomatoes – 5, large, tight red. Caps cut and pulp scooped out
Red onion – 1 large, chopped fine
Long grain rice – 1/2 cup, soaked for 1 hour
Feta – 4 tbsp
Paprika – 1 tsp
All Purpose Italian Seasoning – 1 1/2 tbsp
Olive Oil – 4-5 tbsps
Flat leaf parsley – finely chopped, half cup
Lemon – 1, zest and juice
Mint – finely chopped, half cup
Note: You can also make this a vegan option by skipping the feta.
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Cut the tops off the tomatoes and using a teaspoon, carefully scoop out the soft pulp and seeds and transfer to a bowl. Put the tomato shells into a baking dish or roasting tin that’s large enough to hold all of the tomatoes sitting upright and set aside with the tops of the tomatoes until ready to bake.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a frying pan set over a low heat. Add the onion and fry for 10 minutes until softened and ever so slightly golden. Roughly chop any larger pieces of reserved tomato pulp or puree it and then add to the pan with the rice along with 50ml just-boiled water. Season well with salt and pepper.
Bring the mixture to the boil and continue to cook for 12 minutes and stirring often, until the rice is almost cooked but still al dente. Remove from the heat and stir in the chopped flat-leaf parsley and feta.
Drizzle with the remaining oil, cover with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 20-30 min hour, until the rice is tender. Serve warm from the oven or at room temperature. I like to serve this with a rocket/arugula salad, dressed with some balsamic vinegar and olive oil.