This beautiful side dish is perfect not only because it looks gorgeous but also because it's totally consumable! This creation was inspired by a dish I had in Puerto Rico, where I enjoyed a typical mofongo (mashed plantain dish) served in a pilón—which is a kind of mortar. I thought then, "Wouldn't this be great in a tomato?" Since then, I've been dreaming up all kinds of tomato stuffers! My first choice—as far as mushroom fillers—is domestic oyster, shiitake, or portobellos, which you can easily grill (or sauté!) ahead of time. Also, Manchego is another delicious option for the cheese.
In a medium bowl, combine the mushrooms with the olive oil, shallots, rosemary, and thyme; let sit for about 10 minutes.
Light a fire in a charcoal or gas grill. Using tongs, remove the mushrooms from the marinade and grill until slightly softened and browned, about 2 minutes on each side. Set them aside. (You can also complete this step ahead of time, refrigerate the mushrooms, and then bring them to room temperature when you're ready to stuff the tomatoes.)
Meanwhile, prepare the tomatoes so that you can use them to serve your salad in. Preheat the oven to 325° F. Using a sharp knife, slice the tops off the tomatoes either flat or in a zigzag pattern; you need them later so don't discard them. Using a melon baller or spoon, scoop out the insides. (You may want to save the insides for a sauce or another salad.) Set aside. Place the tomatoes into a 1-inch baking pan (you may have to adjust the bottoms—cutting carefully and only slightly—if they can't sit upright), with their tops. Bake until the skins start to wrinkle, about 15 minutes.
When the tomatoes are finished, remove the tops and stuff with alternate layers of the mushroom mixture and the cheese. Place the tomatoes back into the oven (without the tops) just until the cheese starts to melt, about 5 minutes.
Top each tomato with a bit of the mixed baby greens and a drizzle of the vinaigrette. Cover with the tomato tops, and serve.
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Yellow tomatoes are not in season right now but the yellow cherry tomatoes were available. Used those in a small casserole dish. Doubled the mushroom mixture and put it on top of the halved and roasted tomatoes. Topped that with shredded Manchego and baked it for 5-10 minutes. A healthy, flavorful and easy side dish.
Restaurant quality! My wife and I used this recipe as a vegetarian main course for two... could have used a third stuffed tomato each. I doubled the entire mushroom mixture and grilled it longer (about 15- 20 minutes) over low heat (gas grill) with hickory chips. They really browned up nicely and had a fantastic smokey flavor. I used probably 1.5 times the parm as well. Didn't use the tomato tops. Served over a bed of baby spinach with a homemade honey wine vinaigrette instead of the poorly-rated shallot dressing. Might just make this again to impress both our parents this weekend!
Ann Arbor, MI
This was very easy to prepare and delicious with the added bonus that you can have the tomatoes stuffed and ready to go into the oven several hours ahead of time. That makes last minute prep minimal. I served this as a side rather than a standalone salad by adding extra lettuce - spilling it from the top of the tomato to fill the side of the plate. (Very pretty when you use mixed lettuce colors.) Also, the recipe calls for a sweet vinaigrette. You may want to substitute an unsweetened herb vinaigrette to pair better with savory foods.
Park City, UT
This was a great dish..or rather salad. It was a perfect starter! Everyone enjoyed it. I used arugula as the greens. I recommend it. This is a fun salad and I would make it again.
addictively good! We used extra mushrooms (a couple of shiitakes, a couple of oyster, and two morels), a little extra parmesan, and extra arugula on the top. Perfect; we'll definitely be making this one again. Leftovers (if there are any) reheat well the next day for lunch!