What Are We Stuffing? Tomatoes

One of my favorite things to pair tomatoes with is blue cheese. The acidic tomatoes pair nicely with the tangy blue cheese. I usually slice tomatoes and crumble blue cheese for a tomato salad, but a couple of summers ago I had the idea of stuffing the tomatoes with blue cheese.

It's simple to assemble and tastes amazing. Whether you're grilling outside or using your kitchen inside, they are a great option.

First, choose plump, on-the-vine tomatoes. These work best because they sit evenly on the grill or on a baking sheet, and they're easier to stuff than Roma tomatoes or small cherry tomatoes.

After you clean the tomatoes, slice the top off of each of them, leaving the bottom intact. Now, carefully insert a pairing knife into the tomato, making sure you don't pierce through the bottom, and carve in a circle. You want to leave enough skin on the outside so that your filling has enough support while the tomatoes cook.

Next, use a small spoon -- I use a teaspoon -- and gently pull out the flesh of the tomatoes. You can either discard this part of the tomato, or reserve it for a sauce or salsa. But you won't need it for this recipe.

Once I have taken out the flesh of the tomato, I like to make sure the sides are smooth and the tomatoes can stand on their own without tipping over. The last thing you want is for the cheese to spill out while the tomatoes cook -- talk about a mess.

Finally, fill the entire tomato with blue cheese crumbles. I like to use Maytag blue cheese because it's the blue cheese I have always used and loved. Just pick your own favorite.

You will want to add extra blue cheese to make a heaping mound on the tomatoes because the cheese will melt while on the grill or in the oven -- you'll lose about a quarter of the cheese.

Let the tomatoes cook on the grill for roughly ten to 15 minutes, or until they have softened slightly (a nice char never hurts) and the cheese is bubbly and gooey. If you're making them in the oven, bake at 400 degrees for about ten to 15 minutes as well. To toast the cheese more, broil for a couple minutes.

These stuffed tomatoes pair well with a steak dinner or even with a wedge salad. One slice into the tomato, and a flood of blue cheese will come flowing out onto your plate. It's a little messy, but really tasty.

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