Baked tomatoes with pearl barley, olive & caper stuffing

Tomatoes take on a rich, sweet, flavour when baked and I love the colourfulness of this dish.  I was inspired to make concoct this recipe one weekend lunch time as I had some olives and lemons  that needed using up along with some cupboard staples.  If you don’t have pearl barley, you can always substitute this with either couscous or rice.  It’s great as a light lunch or starter.  I was very hungry this lunch time so I unashamedly managed the three tomatoes quite easily!

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Ingredients

3 large tomatoes

For the stuffing:

60g of pearl barley

30g black pitted olives

2 tsps capers

2 tsps raisins

Zest of lemon

Juice of ½ lemon

2 tsps red wine vinegar

½ tsp dried basil or 1 tbsp of the fresh stuff, roughly torn

For the tomato sauce:

400g tin of chopped tomatoes

1 tsp red wine vinegar (or balsamic vinegar if you haven’t the red stuff)

½ tsp dried basil or 1 tbsp of the fresh stuff, roughly torn

Salt & pepper to taste

Olive oil for brushing

Method

  • Cook the pearl barley according to the packet instructions.  Strain very well to remove all residual water.

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  • Heat the oven to 190C
  • Chop the olives into small pieces and put in a bowl.
Olives & capers
Olives & capers
  • Add the pearl barley, capers, lemon zest, raisins and juice of lemon to the bowl.  Season to taste.
Cooked pearl barley with the olives & capers
Cooked pearl barley with the olives & capers
  • Cut the tops off the tomatoes and reserve.
Cut off the tops of the tomatoes
Cut off the tops of the tomatoes
  • Scoop out the seeds and flesh inside the tomato.
Remove the flesh & seeds from inside the tomatoes
Remove the flesh & seeds from inside the tomatoes
  • Chop any chunks of flesh into small pieces, and put into a saucepan.
Chop into small chunks
Chop into small chunks
  • Add red wine vinegar, basil and seasoning to the pan.  Cook on high temperature so that the mixture is bubbling vigorously.  Leave to cook until thickened and most of the liquid has evaporated.
Seeds & flesh from inside the tomato to make a sauce
Seeds & flesh from inside the tomato to make a sauce
  • Add the tomato mixture to the filling mixture containing the olives, capers, pearl barley, etc, and mix well.
Add tomato sauce to pearl barley, olive & caper mixture
Add tomato sauce to pearl barley, olive & caper mixture
  • Lightly brush the outside of the tomatoes and the lids with olive oil.  Place the tomatoes in an ovenproof dish.
Fill the tomatoes
Fill the tomatoes
  • Spoon the stuffing into each tomato and press the lid on top.
Place lids on filled tomatoes
Place lids on filled tomatoes
  • Now prepare the tomato sauce.  Pour the tin of tomatoes into a separate bowl and stir in the red wine vinegar, basil and seasoning.  Then pour into the dish around the base of the tomatoes.
Tomato sauce added to the dish
Tomato sauce added to the dish
  • Bake for 25-30 mins or until the tomatoes are soft and starting to brown.
Bake until soft and  starting to brown
Bake until soft and starting to brown
  • Enjoy either plain or with a green salad!

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