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Stuffed Tomatoes Au Gratin

ingredients

8 medium-sized ripe tomatoes

for the savoury bread stuffing:

1 large onion, finely chopped
3 - 4 oz (100 - 125 g) fine fresh breadcrumbs
3 oz (100 g) finely grated hard cheese
2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
1 tbsp chopped chives
olive oil
salt and pepper

method

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C) mark 6.

2. Make the bread stuffing: fry the onion very gently in 5 tbsp olive oil for 10 minutes, stirring at intervals; when tender and very pale golden brown, add the breadcrumbs and continue cooking over a low heat for a few seconds, stirring.

3. Remove from the heat and leave to cool before stirring in the grated cheese, parsley and chives. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.

4. Rinse and dry the tomatoes and cut off the tops about a quarter of the way down from the stalk; scoop out all the seeds and some of the flesh.

5. Sprinkle with a little salt and then fill the tomatoes with the bread mixture, smoothing with a knife to form a dome. Lightly oil a wide, shallow ovenproof dish and arrange the stuffed tomatoes in it in a single layer.

6. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Serve hot or warm on their own as a starter, an accompaniment or as part of an assortment of other stuffed, baked vegetables.

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