At Brookside Farmers’ Market last weekend, I explored a new — at least new to me — cavern.
It’s the Striped Cavern Tomato, red with yellow stripes and a Roma-like shape that’s meaty and good for stuffing.
The Striped Caverns glowed in the sunlight inRyan Stubby’s stall. They practically called to me. Stubby says he grows this tomato variety at his Mulberry Hill Farm in Leavenworth, and they’re also a favorite of Seed Savers Exchange
in Decorah, Iowa.
When I brought them home, I debated with myself about whether to stuff them with an aromatic breadcrumb mixture and bake them or head out to the grill. As you can see, the grill won out.
What I love about this dish is that you get the barbecue flavor you crave but in a lighter, better-for-you way. Garden to grill.
Hickory Smoked Stuffed Tomatoes are delicious as the centerpiece of a knife-and-fork salad, but they’d also be great cut and “smooshed” on grilled bread.And, Ssshhh, they’re vegetarian. Hickory Smoked Stuffed Tomatoes
As a barbecue-lover’s salad or as a side dish, these goat cheese-stuffed tomatoes have the flavor of the grill and the garden.Makes 6 servings 6 medium Striped Cavern or Roma tomatoes 6 ounces goat cheese Olive oil and balsamic vinegar for drizzling Hickory wood chips or chunks Fresh basil or mint Fresh greens
With a serrated knife, core the tomatoes and scrape out some of the interior seeds. Stuff each tomato with 1 ounce of soft goat cheese. Arrange the tomatoes upright in a disposable aluminum pan and drizzle with olive oil. If necessary, lightly trim the bottom of a tomato so it sits evenly in the pan.
Prepare an indirect fire in your grill or smoker, with a fire on one side and no fire on the other. For a gas grill, add 1 cup dry wood chips to the smoker box and place on the grill grates in the back of the grill. For a charcoal grill, place 3 wood chunks on ashed-over coals. When you see the first wisp of smoke, place the pan of stuff tomatoes on the indirect or no-heat side and close the lid. Smoke for 45 minutes or until the tomatoes are burnished on top and have a good, smoky aroma. Garnish with sprigs of fresh herbs or serve on a bed of greens, then drizzle with more olive oil and a little balsamic vinegar (fig balsamic is really good).
Award-winning cookbook author Judith Fertig lives, cooks, bakes, grills and writes in Overland Park, Kan. She is the author of “Heartland: The Cookbook” and “I Love Cinnamon Rolls,” and the co-author of “The Gardener and the Grill” and the IACP award winning “The Back in the Swing Cookbook.”