Sunday 3 May 2009

Tomatoes Baked with Garlic Butter and Cream

Glorious tomatoes in cream,
sequinned with butter.
A wickedly indulgent yet simple dish that is excellent with bacon and eggs, or with a cheese omelette. A first baking with garlic butter allows the garlicky, herby flavours to permeate the tomatoes; a second baking with cream produces a heavenly sauce spangled with little sequins of butter.

You can use any combination of fresh herbs here; good dried herbs are also fine, but use half the quantity as dried herbs are far more pungent than fresh ones.

If you like, you can bake these in individual ramekins, but you will need to shorten the cooking time by about 5 minutes. Don't cut the bottoms off the tomato halves, which will cause them to collapse.

Tomatoes Baked with Garlic Butter and Cream

8 ripe, sweet tomatoes
3 Tbsp (45 ml/45 g) softened butter
1 fat clove garlic, peeled and crushed (to taste)
a pinch of finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp (5ml) finely chopped fresh oreganum
salt and freshly milled black pepper
2/3 cup (160 ml) single cream

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Halve the tomatoes and place them, cut-side up, in a single layer in suitably size oven-proof dish. In a little bowl, combine the butter, garlic, rosemary and oreganum. Place a dob of the garlic butter in the centre of each tomato, and season well with salt and pepper.

Bake the tomatoes in the hot oven for about 20 minutes, or until just softened. Pour the cream over and around the tomatoes, resisting the temptation to stir, or to disturb the garlic topping. Turn the heat down to 160°C, and bake for another 10 minutes, or until soft right through, but not collapsed.

Serve with plenty of toast or fresh bread for mopping up the juices.

Serves 4.
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