You might think farmers’ market season is winding down, but it’s really just getting started. The season is changing and with it you can find a new batch of crops to choose from, plus traditional veggies like –heirloom tomatoes!
My family has grown heirlooms in our family garden since I was a child and there is nothing tastier than a homegrown mater. Heirlooms (or heritage tomatoes) are non-hybrid tomatoes. The definition of the use of the word heirloom to describe plants is highly debated, according to Wikipedia. I consider a true heirloom a cultivar that has been nurtured, selected, and handed down from one family member to another for many generations.
If you have never had the opportunity to taste the freshness of heirloom tomatoes, I highly suggest you visit your local market before the end of the season and give it a try.
Creamy Polenta-Stuffed Heirloom Tomatoes
adapted from Fine Cooking
1 Tbs. butter
1 Tbs. diced shallot
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
3 cups lower-salt chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream1 cup polenta (such as Bob’s Red Mill brand)
1/2 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme
1/2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 cup plus
2 Tbs. freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 large Roma-style heirloom tomatoes
2 Tbs. chopped parsley
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the shallot and garlic and cook, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add the cream and then whisk in the polenta. Reduce the heat to a simmer, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Add the thyme and rosemary and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the polenta is tender, creamy, and thick, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in 1/4 cup of the cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 400° F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Halve the tomatoes lengthwise and hollow them out. Cut a very thin slice off the bottom of each tomato half so the filled tomato can lie flat without rolling. Arrange the tomatoes on the baking sheet and season them lightly with salt. Fill each tomato half with some of the polenta, mounding just slightly (depending on the size of your tomatoes, you may or may not use all the polenta). Sprinkle the remaining 2 Tbs. of cheese and the parsley over each. Bake until the tomatoes are soft, about 20 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.