Garlic and herb-stuffed tomatoes and zucchini. (Bryan Chan / Los Angeles…)
A fragrant mixture of garlic, capers, crushed tomatoes, onion and a touch of wine are cooked to a rich, thick tomato sauce, while freshly made breadcrumbs, pine nuts and a few chopped anchovy fillets are the filling for a hollowed-out zucchini and small ripe summer tomatoes. Spoon the tomato sauce over the base of a gratin dish, and top with the stuffed zucchini and tomatoes. Dinner is ready to serve when the vegetables are softened and the breadcrumbs are lightly browned, about 30 minutes.
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Garlic and herb-stuffed tomatoes and zucchini
From California Cook, "Shades of Summer" by Russ Parsons and Leslie Brenner, Aug. 10, 2005
Total time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Note: Salted anchovies are available at Nicole's in South Pasadena, Bay Cities in Santa Monica, Market Gourmet in Venice and Surfas in Culver City. Canned anchovies in oil may be substituted.
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for drizzling (optional)
1 onion, minced (about 1 cup)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup white wine
3 tablespoons capers
1/2 pound baguette
1/4 cup loosely packed, coarsely chopped basil leaves
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 salted anchovy fillets, rinsed, bones removed and chopped
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
3 (8-inch) zucchini
12 small round tomatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Cook the olive oil and the onion in a large skillet over medium heat until the onion softens, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic; cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes, wine, capers and one-half teaspoon salt. Simmer until the sauce thickens, about 20 minutes.
2. Trim the crusts and cut the bread into cubes. Place in a food processor or a blender with the basil and garlic and grind to fine crumbs. Pour into a bowl and stir in the anchovies and pine nuts. Set aside.
3. Cut each zucchini in half lengthwise and use a melon baller to carefully remove some of the flesh from the center to make a "canoe." Leave about one-fourth inch at the sides and ends and a little more at the bottom. Season the inside with one teaspoon salt, and steam over rapidly boiling salted water until just tender, about 10 to 15 minutes.
4. Cut a slice from the top of each tomato. With the melonballer, gently remove most of the pulp. Season insides with one-fourth teaspoon salt.
5. Pour the tomato sauce into a lightly oiled 5-quart gratin dish or substitute two smaller gratin dishes. Spoon the breadcrumb mixture into the zucchini and tomatoes, mounding slightly on top. It will take 1 to 2 tablespoons for each zucchini and 2 to 3 teaspoons for each tomato. Do not press the breadcrumbs or they will become pasty when cooked. Arrange the zucchini and tomatoes in the gratin dish. Drizzle with olive oil if desired.
6. Bake until the vegetables have softened and the tops of the breadcrumbs have browned, about 30 minutes. (Time will vary for the smaller dishes, so start checking after 15 to 20 minutes.) Serve hot or at room temperature.
Each serving: 308 calories; 10 grams protein; 42 grams carbohydrates; 7 grams fiber; 12 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 2 mg. cholesterol; 648 mg. sodium.