May 23, 2013

I Heart Cooking Clubs: Potluck Week {gratinéed tomatoes}

Maybe you've heard of Tessa Kiros.  Maybe not.  Maybe you know that she's on my favorite chefs list.  That's saying alot since I lean towards Cajun & Creole chefs.

Gratinéed Tomatoes

I had never heard of Tessa Kiros until she was an I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC) featured chef last year.  Food from Many Greek Kitchens was my introduction to Tessa Kiros, and it was quite an  introduction.  It still remains one of my favorite cookbooks on my shelves.

The stories Kiros tells in her books are full of things I want to read--history and lore related to her recipes.  These personal stories highlight those real life moments that elevate recipes to family favorite status.  These personal stories make for my favorite type of cookbook.  I'm not here just for the food.  I'm here for what started the food in the first place, what the food means today, and what carries on after it.

Gratinéed Tomatoes

In case you're now thinking that Kiros is full of huggy, touchy-feely fluff, I'm going to add that her recipes are solid.  Out of everything I've made (> 30 recipes), only two didn't work out.  And one of those was because I horribly mismeasured tahini.  My bad.

A new feature during IHCC Potluck Week, which happens once a month, is that ANY current or previous chef is fair game.  I had to pull my Tessa Kiros books down from the shelf.  There are still many recipes I want to try.

Gratinéed Tomatoes
This Gratinéed Tomato dish from Twelve, for example.

It is a simple dish.  But there's a certain elegance in it.  In the individual portions of tomato halves sitting on my plate rather than a scoop cut from a casserole dish.  There's also versatility.  Herbs and cheeses can be switched out.  We ate these tomatoes alongside grilled steaks for The Husband's birthday.  Fish, chicken, burgers, sandwiches, or soup would also have worked.

IHCC Ottolenghi Leek Badge resized  MyMeatlessMondays

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Gratinéed Tomatoes
adapted from Twelve by Tessa Kiros

6 Roma tomatoes
salt and black pepper to taste
3 Tbsp chopped parsley
10 mint leaves, chopped
10 basil leaves, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp dried oregano
3-4 Tbsp olive oil, divided
5 Tbsp freshly grated parmesan cheese, divided
4 Tbsp panko bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Halve the tomatoes lengthwise.  Scoop out the flesh and seeds, leaving the shell intact.  Place the empty tomato halves into a baking dish cut side up, and season with salt and pepper.

Finely chop the tomato flesh and seeds and put into a bowl. Add the fresh herbs, garlic, oregano, 2 Tbsp olive oil, 2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese, and 1 1/2 Tbsp bread crumbs.  Season the mixture with salt and pepper.  Gently but thoroughly mix.

Distribute the mixture evenly among the tomato halves.  Mix the remaining Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs together.  Top the tomatoes with this mixture.  Drizzle the remaining olive oil over the bread crumb mixture.  Bake about 30 minutes until the bread crumbs are golden.


  1. Perfect recipe that uses summer produce! Lynn

  2. When food can tell a story of history and culture by the author it is a beautiful thing.
    Thanks for sharing.


  3. I can't wait until we have fresh tomatoes from the garden! I have never heard of Tessa Kiros! Love to find new chefs to explore! Thanks for this post!

  4. Hi Michelle,
    This looks lovely! I have Tessa's book Piri-Piri Starfish, bought on the last week of cooking with Tessa! Have tried two recipes so far and both are winners! Many more are bookmarked!
    This is a wonderful choice for a potluck!

  5. Funny enough, I'd have to say that Tessa was my favorite too! I love the style of her cookbooks and the ease of her recipes. Her newest one, Recipes and Dreams, is full of stories, pictures, tips, and recipes. It's more stories than recipes, but it's probably the prettiest so far.

    These tomatoes look perfect for summer! I could easily eat them on their own for lunch.

    Your last comment made me laugh. Not only do my grocery lists have to be in order of the store, but they have to be error-free and very neat. Nothing can be scratched out, etc. No one else is allowed to write on it. I have to add the item in my own handwriting. I have major Hopefully one day we have the chance to meet up :)

    1. OMG, Kim, I am exactly like that. Also all my spices in my spice drawer have to be lined up in alphabetical order!!

  6. It maybe a simple dish but it looks WONDERFUL !!
    Believe me Michelle - I'd probably eat everything by miself

  7. So pretty. It will be a while before I have tomatoes that will do a dish like this justice. Can't wait.

  8. I am so glad you posted this on My Meatless Mondays. I am planning to incorporate it into my weekly menu. I should buy one of Tessa's books. Everything you have shared has tempted me but this one is so ME.

    This is being featured, this week, so stop by and take a peek and as always, I thank you for your support and participation.

  9. Michelle, I'm with you in every way. I loved cooking with Tessa, and I still get her down from the bookshelves on a regular basis - often just for a bit of a read and a daydream. I totally agree that it's not just about the food, but where it comes from and what it means to the person who's sharing it with you. I guess that's why we all like to blog and to read each other's blogs - it's all about the stories. Having said that, I love the look of these tomatoes - I'm definitely bookmarking these for summer, and I know I'll think of you when I eat them.

  10. I like Tessa Kiroas too. Her books are always filled with such lovely photos and healthy recipes. Love your tomatoes. Perfect for a patio meal with a glass of wine.

  11. Tessa is one of my top favorites too--her books are just art. (I have her new book now but have not yet cooked from it!) These tomatoes look lovely--I like all of the herbs in them. ;-)

  12. These are gorgeous tomatoes :) I have Tessa's books on my list of would really like very very much!


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