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  • Writer's pictureTommy Centola

Louisiana cooking with Creole Tomatoes

In south Louisiana, summertime brings Creole tomatoes. These tomatoes are grown in south Louisiana and are ripened on the vine. As the season begins, Creole tomatoes are found in various dishes, ranging from Creole tomato and mayo sandwiches to stuffed tomato dishes.

Today, I want to share with you a couple of recipes for stuffed tomatoes, Stuffed Tomato Salad and Stuffed Tomatoes. These recipes show how versatile tomatoes are. The first one required minimal cooking and the second is a fully cooked dish.

I know that Creole tomatoes are not available in Arkansas. Any large tomato will work, especially tomatoes found at farmer markets. These are the freshest tomatoes that you can find.

I love to serve stuffed tomatoes. They are a very pleasing visual presentation. As a child, I always liked to get something like a stuffed tomato served to me. It meant that it was made just for me and was all mine. I still feel this way when I cook Cornish hens.

Both of these recipes are customizable. You can either prepare them as is or make your own changes. With tomatoes as a focus, the sky is the limit to what you can add.

This first recipe is vegetarian. The only part of this recipe that requires a stove is the boiled eggs. It is a good dish to make with a younger child. You can cook the eggs and chop the vegetables. They can prepare the rest. If you want to add some meat, diced ham or turkey would make a great addition. Either way, it is a great dish for any meal.

Stuffed Tomato Salad

1/2 cup cucumber, diced

1/2 cup celery, diced

1/4 cup onion, diced

1/4 cup green bell pepper, diced

1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced

1/2 cup cottage cheese

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

2 hard-boiled eggs, diced

1/2 teaspoon salt

Black pepper to taste

2 tablespoons Italian dressing

1/2 teaspoon fresh basil, chopped

6 tomatoes, chilled

In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except tomatoes. Mix well, cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Cut 3/4-inch off the top of each tomato and reserve. Using a teaspoon, scoop out tomato seeds and pulp. Turn tomatoes upside down and allow to drain well on paper towels. Dice one cup of sliced tomato tops and mix with well chilled vegetable mixture. When tomatoes are well drained, stuff each with an equal amount of vegetable mixture. Serve on top of your favorite lettuce.

This recipe requires some cooking. This is a lot like a stuffed bell pepper. Jambalaya also makes a great stuffing. Either way, this is a great dish that your family or guest will enjoy.

Stuffed Tomatoes

6 to 8 large tomatoes

½ teaspoon Creole seasoning

2 cups cooked long grain rice

½ pound sliced bacon, cooked and crumbled

¾ cup shredded Cheddar cheese

½ cup finely chopped onion

¼ cup minced fresh parsley

1 egg, beaten

½ teaspoon pepper

1 pound cooked small shrimp

¼ cup dry Italian style bread crumbs

2 tablespoons butter, melted

Cut a thin slice off the top of each tomato; scoop out the pulp and discard. Sprinkle Creole Seasoning inside the tomatoes; invert on paper towels to drain. In a large bowl, combine the rice, bacon, cheese, onion, parsley, egg and pepper. Fold in shrimp. Spoon into tomatoes. Place in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Combine bread crumbs and butter; sprinkle over the tomatoes. Bake, uncovered, at 350°F for 30 minutes or until heated through.

I hope you enjoyed out trip among the tomato plants. Being Italian, tomatoes have always been a big part of my childhood. If you are ever lucky enough to get your hands on a Creole tomato, you are in for a treat.

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