I brought this recipe back from France 20 years ago. Gosh, that makes me feel very grown-up. Not old, just grown-up.
Anyhow, back in Fall 1995 I was living in Paris and interning at the Associated Press. The woman I boarded with made these sausage and mint stuffed tomatoes. She'd also pick up lamb or a whole fish from the outdoor market and do nothing in the way of prep, literally just throwing them in the oven. But when dinner was ready, it was incroyable. Until I met Francoise, I'd never seen anyone cook so simply and so wonderfully at the same time.
I still haven't made a whole fish, though it is on my culinary bucket list. But I have made these tomatoes beaucoup. Merci, Francoise.
Sausage and Mint Stuffed Tomatoes
4 red tomatoes, beefsteak are ideal
3/4 pound to 1 1/2 pounds Italian sausage
1/3 to 3/4 cup bread crumbs
Handful of mint, roughly chopped
Salt, pepper to taste
First, remember that all quantities are approximate. All depends on how large your tomatoes are, how much you like mint, how bready or meaty you like your sausage stuffing and how many people you are feeding. While big beefsteak tomatoes are best, heirlooms won't work due to their odd shapes, which make it hard to form a big hole inside the tomato to fill with the sausage stuffing.
The last time I made this dish, which was for this blog, I had smallish vine ripened tomatoes (see photo), which weren't ideal, but I made do. I used 3/4 pound of sausage and 1/3 cup breadcrumbs. While the meat and bread crumb ratios will change depending on the size of your tomatoes, you can pretty much always get away with using just one egg.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Hollow out your tomatoes so there is a hole for the sausage stuffing. Place tomatoes in baking dish.
Combine sausage, bread crumbs, egg and mint. Add salt and pepper to your liking.
Stuff tomatoes. Bake for 40 minutes to 1 hour. The top of the sausage should be brown and crispy and the inside should be barely pinkish.