Tip Top Tomato

Joy and I got up early a few Saturdays ago to browse the farmer’s market in O town.  It was fun to see the bustle of people with their friends or lovers, dogs on leashes, loading up on lattes and freshly baked galettes and cinnamon rolls.  There was even a lady pushing her pet goose in a baby stroller.  I love to hear the hum of the busy morning and take in the colorful backdrop of dreadlocks, patchwork skirts, and Birkenstock sandals as people hurry to find their treasures.

The yellow light of the early summer morning warmed the skins of the squashes, berries, and tomatoes on display.  The street is transformed into a menagerie of not only farmers, but artists, bakers, baristas, and dreamers all out peddling their wares, refusing to submit to the nine to five life-at least not fully.   It’s a refreshing and hopeful place and it is satisfying to know that everything you buy there is someone’s lovingly made creation.   How often in today’s world do you get to put your money into the hand of the person who grew the pint of strawberries you are going to put into your prized pie?

We were there on a quest that morning-combing the vegetable stands for a few perfect heirloom or beefsteak tomatoes.  The ones from the grocery store just would not do for the recipe we were going to spend our afternoon creating.  We wanted a fruit of the most vibrant color and a taste so robust you could sense the notes of the soil and the sun where it sat a few hours before.

I had to discipline myself not to get off task and spend the morning loading up on all kinds of beautiful produce I didn’t have time to use that day.  There was one point I stopped dead in my tracks causing Joy to bump into me because I saw the most beautiful smattering of ruby-red currants glistening in the sunlight.  They looked like gems lit up from the inside-they were were so crimson and juicy…little orbs of perfection.  I made a mental note to come back another day for a pint or two of those beauties.  The things I could do with those!

We found our tomatoes at a busy stand and set out for home to create a dish we both ended up taking great pleasure in.  We entered our recipe into the annual Top Tomato Contest for the Washington post.  We were selected as finalists and we had our recipe published in The Post.  Pretty dang cool.

You can see our published recipe here.

We created a French style stuffed tomato, Tomates Farcies.

Tomatoes stuffed with chicken, shrimp, or tuna are a dime a dozen, but we utilized left over pot roast to give this light dish some real meat on its bones.   This tomato is classy enough for a ladies luncheon and hearty enough to make your husband happy.

For this contest, you were to submit a photo of the recipe, but if you were selected as a winner or finalist, they’d re-make your dish and have it photographed by a professional on their staff.  It was neat to see another person’s interpretation of our dish.  I think they nailed it.  However, I was extra pleased that I’m happier with the photograph Joy and I took.


I love how you can see the little bits of the fresh filling, the vibrant color of the vegetables, the crumbly, peppery topping.

It’s so fun to share the love of cooking with a dear friend.  I think the recipes you create with the people in your life always turn out better than anything you could have done on your own.  That certainly was the case this time, for sure.

Tomates Farcies

Serving Size: 4

Calories per serving: 330

Fat per serving: 20 g


  • 4 large heirloom or beefsteak tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped leftover pot roast
  • 1/4 cup seeded, chopped bell pepper (any variety; half yellow and half orange is good to use for color)
  • 1/4 cup seeded, chopped cucumber
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 2 ounces blue cheese
  • 1/3 cup regular or low-fat mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup plain regular or low-fat Greek yogurt
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2/3 cup plain panko bread crumbs
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons salted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


  1. Position an oven rack 4 to 6 inches from the broiler element; preheat the broiler. Have a rimmed baking sheet at hand.
  2. Cut the tops off of the tomatoes. Hollow out the insides, keeping the tomato flesh intact and discarding any woody parts and seeds. Arrange cut sides up on the baking sheet.
  3. Dice the flesh and tomato tops (minus the stem areas) and place in a bowl, along with the meat, bell pepper, cucumber and onion. Crumble in the blue cheese; stir gently to incorporate.
  4. Whisk together the mayonnaise and yogurt in a small bowl. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Pour the mixture over the tomato-meat stuffing mixture and stir gently to coat. Use that to fill each tomato, heaping it slightly over the edges.
  5. Combine the panko, butter and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese in a medium bowl, then spoon that mixture over each filled tomato. Sprinkle lightly with pepper, if desired. (You may have a bit of the crumb mixture left over.)
  6. Broil for a few minutes -- just long enough to lightly brown the crumb topping but not long enough to cook or heat up the tomato.
  7. Divide among individual plates; serve right away.



  1. These look so good, I need to try them. Also, I love your description of the currants… I always feel that way about them myself, but you really must do a post with them. I don’t know what to do with them except photograph them because they are beautiful!

    • I’m not sure what to put currants in either-I was thinking of a scone or some type of cake or muffin, but then I got to thinking that was too boring and maybe they’d be great in a sauce over a big hunk of meat. Doesn’t that sound great?

  2. What a great story leading to a beautiful creation. It makes me want to go to the market myself.

  3. You are so good. I want to go find the farmers market now. Washington Post that is so cool.

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