Search the Happy Baker blog:

Monday, March 14, 2011

Polenta Stuffed Tomatoes

You know what makes me sad? When you think Old Man Winter has finally disappeared, but you come to find he only backed up for a running start.

I'm never one to complain about "yucky" weather. I usually love yucky weather. It gives me an excuse to stay inside and end up wrist-deep in batter of some sort! But I have to admit, I was really looking forward to putting in my garden and swingin' in my hammock with a glass of lemonade.

So when I woke this morning to gray skies, snow, and slush, I decided a warm, hearty breakfast was just what the doctor ordered. Only, in my efforts to keep my pants from exploding, I wanted something a bit healthier than pancakes or french toast.

I had an idea I wanted to try. I love stuffed tomatoes, filled with the traditional meat-and-grain combo, like a stuffed pepper. So I thought--why not make it for breakfast? I could use polenta for the grain, and eggs for the "meat". Well now, that's just a fabulous idea! And hey! Less than 200 calories each! Can't beat THAT.

The folks at my grocery store are starting to welcome me by name. I visit almost every single day. I don't like storing perishables in my fridge, since I tend to forget they're in there and end up wasting tons of good food and money. So I shop daily for what I need. I waste less and my food is more fresh.

I got what I needed and hurried home, eager to get started.

What you'll need for two tomatoes:
Recipe is kosher dairy and vegetarian

- 2 super large tomatoes (beefsteaks work really well)
- 1/4 cup dry polenta (corn grits)
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup avocado asiago bruschetta topping
- 2 eggs
- handful of diced scallions
- Salt and pepper to taste

The bruschetta topping is something I saw and immediately had to get into my belly. It looked so tasty and innocent, sitting up there on its shelf all by itself. Cringing for the calorie bomb, I checked the label and was pleasantly surprised to see only 45 calories per 2 Tablespoons. If you can't find this variety, you can always use plain bruschetta topping, or make your own:

- 1/2 cup artichoke hearts
- 2 Tbsp grated asiago cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- garlic powder, salt, pepper to taste.


Preheat your oven to 350 F.

Take your tomatoes and cut their crowns out. Kinda like carving a jack-o-lantern. Then use a spoon and scoop out the guts. All those little seeds and tomato goo need to go. You want the tomato dry. You can even stuff a clean paper towel in there for good measure to sop up any residual juice. Set 'em aside.

In a small or medium saucepan, add a cup of water and a generous pinch of salt and bring it to a boil. Add your polenta and spices and whisk until well blended and smooth. No clumps! Polenta clumps are no good. Turn off the heat and let it set and thicken. When it's cooled a bit and thickened, add your artichoke bruschetta topping and scallions and stir.

Using a dinner spoon, stuff your tomatoes with the polenta mixture. You want their little tomato bellies to be good and full. Leave a little well at the top.

[editor's note]- I cracked an egg into this well before baking, but I wouldn't do it again that way next time. In order for the egg to cook through, it had to be in the oven way too long, and got a little tough. Next time, I'll poach the egg separately, and then put it on top right before serving. So, regardless of what the photos show, that's how I'm going to finish the recipe. Because I don't recommend baking the egg.

Anyway, leave a well for your egg, (but don't put the egg in it yet) and pop the stuffed tomato in your preheated oven and bake until the sides are fork tender and the skin begins to split. Mine took about 20 minutes.

When the tomatoes are almost finished baking, bring a little saucepan of water to a simmer and add a tablespoon of white vinegar. If you don't have vinegar or don't want to poach, just panfry the egg to your desired doneness. Mine were hard-yolked, but I bet poached or over easy would be delicious!
Crack an egg into your vinegar-water and poach until the yolk is soft, but not hard, if you want to leave it over-easy, that's fine too.

Take your tomatoes out of the oven and remove the skins. It should be super easy--find where they've split and just peel 'em off.

Set your egg into the little well you created, nestle the whole shebang into a plate or bowl with a little green onion, spinach, whatnot, and serve hot. Dig in! it's sure to warm the bones and stick to the ribs. And all with hardly a dent in your daily calorie budget. How 'bout that?

Enjoy, and happy eating!

1 comment:

Send me a comment! I love to hear what you have to say!