January 3, 2010
Another holiday favorite in Argentina and it's easy to know why–in the heat of a South American summer, nothing is as precious to the palate as a fresh tomato, picked at its peak. If you think that phrase is a mouthful, consider biting into one of these lovely, vine-ripened treats, stuffed with perfectly seasoned rice studded with bits of hard-boiled egg.
When it's summer and the appetite wanes from the heat, these tomatoes are the perfect small lunch or dinner, served with a bit of crusty bread, some cheese and a glass of chilled Torrontes. Alongside a holiday meal, it's a wonderful addition to heavier foodstuffs like Lechon, roast turkey, ham, and all the other side dishes; the stuffed tomatoes aren't overly filling.
These stuffed tomatoes are classically Argentinean, quite common on most tables and as following the three rules of Argentinean classic cookery: loads of variations according to the cook, made simply so that the flavors speak for themselves, and made economically with what's seasonal and on hand.
Variations include hard-boiled egg pieces, tuna and rice, or shrimp and rice. (Another seafood, like crab or lobster would also work well.) Since mine was a side rather than the main course, I kept the filling as simple as possible: boiled seasoned rice, chopped hardboiled egg, a dollop of mayo and a drizzle of lemon juice.
And that's a tray of tasty, tantalizing tomates, wouldn't you say? Actually, don't bother saying it three times fast, or at all–just get one on your plate and into your mouth!
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Tomates Rellenos con Arroz
1 cup white rice
salt, to taste
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 egg, hard-boiled and chopped
1 tablespoon dried parsley
juice of one lemon
8 tomatoes, tops and insides removed
8 green olives, for garnish
Cook the rice according to instructions on bag. (1 cup rice, 2 cups water, salt. Bring the water to a boil in a medium stock pot, add rice and salt, and cover the pot. Reduce heat to low and cook for about 20 minutes, or until water has absorbed.)
Meanwhile, warm the peas in a small stock pot with some water, and drain. Let cool.
Remove the rice to a bowl to cool, and add in the peas, mayonnaise, parsley, chopped hard-boiled egg, lemon juice and salt to taste. Stir until well combined. Fill the cavities of the tomatoes with the rice, garnish with the green olives, and refrigerate until serving.