Stuffed Tomatoes Catalan
Serves 8 / This satisfying side dish boasts skin-saving lycopene. Salting the tomatoes draws out water, preventing them from becoming mushy. Be sure to use coarse kosher salt; regular salt is too fine for this purpose.
8 large, firm, ripe tomatoes
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup warm water
4 slices wheat or white bread, preferably day-old
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 shallots or 1 white onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts or chopped almonds, toasted
1. Slice about 1/8 inch off top of tomatoes; core and seed with a teaspoon or grapefruit spoon. Sprinkle insides well with kosher salt, rotating to reach both sides and bottom. Lay tomatoes, cut-side down, on a plate lined with several paper towels. Allow to drain for 1/2 hour.
2. Soak raisins in water for 10 minutes; drain and finely chop. Pulse bread in a food processor to form about 2 cups coarse crumbs.
3. Preheat oven to 375º. In a medium skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil with butter. When butter is melted, add shallots or onion and sauté until almost transparent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute. Stir in raisins and sprinkle with kosher salt. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
4. In a medium bowl, mix breadcrumbs, cooled onion mixture, Parmesan cheese, and nuts. Add salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
5. After tomatoes have drained, use paper towels to dry insides. Arrange tomatoes in a single layer in a glass baking dish or foil-lined baking sheet. Spoon breadcrumb mixture into tomatoes, packing gently and mounding excess on top. Drizzle tomatoes with remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil. Bake until tops are golden brown and crispy, about 20 minutes.