summer cherry tomatoes (à la bourguignonne)
Cooking inspiration can come from anything and sometimes it comes from really nothing at all. Today it was my poêlon à escargots, a ceramic dish with twelve individual holes in which to cook the escargots. The dish works nicely because the individual holes roast each escargot in a bath of seasoned butter. However, I wanted to take advantage of the summer cherry tomatoes that are filling the markets so I decided to roast my tomatoes in my poêlon à escargotsas if they were escargots. The result: delicious so I thought I would share the recipe with you. This week’s simple pleasure is summer cherry tomatoes “àla bourguignonne” (with a twist, of course).
Escargots à la bourguignonne simply means that the escargots are prepared as they do in the Burgundy region in France. The method could not be more simple: escargots roasted in compound butter (or maître d’hôtel). Compound butter is butter flavored with minced shallots, garlic, parsley, and seasoned with salt.
Cherry tomatoes are roughly the same size as escargots and can easily be stuffed. However, they are less expensive than escargots and less divisive. To the compound butter I added some crumbled sausage to give the tomatoes a little more substance (although the sausage can easily be eliminated). These stuffed tomatoes can be served as an appetizer, a starter for sit-down dinners, or as a side dish to accompany grilled meat (i.e., a steak or chicken). The majority of the preparation can be done in advance (the stuffing takes 10 minutes to make and the actual stuffing of the tomatoes takes even less time). Simply place the stuffed tomatoes in a pre-heated oven about 15 minutes before you want to serve them. You can serve them individually or in the escargots plate and let your guests help themselves.
While those of you who know me personally will think I have gone mad roasting in butter (not my usual thing), I did reduce the butter ratio typically used for escargots so you do not have to feel too bad (and a little butter in moderation is not so terrible in any event).
With respect to le poêlon à escargots, escargots plates come in a variety of shapes and styles but are generally ceramic or aluminum. You can place them on the table (on a covered surface) and eat directly eaten from them as you would a side-dish gratin. These plates can be purchased in supply stores or ordered online (in the states I know that Sur la Table sells them as well and the escargots tongs and forks). Prices range from $6.00 to $40.00 for the plates. If you do not have one (nor do you want to purchase one) you can use a small casserole or gratin dish instead just be sure to place the tomatoes next to one another so the sides touch allowing the butter to coat the tomato sides as it melts from the center.
Je vous souhaite un bon appétit !
tomates cerises à la Bourguignonne
(roasted and stuffed summer cherry tomatoes)
yield: serves 6 (2 tomatoes each)
what you need:
12 beautifull ripe cherry tomatoes on the vine
2 Italian sausages, casings removed (optional)
fleur de sel (as needed)
freshly ground black pepper (as needed)
2 tablespoons quality unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons finely minced Italian parsley
2 tablespoons finely minced shallots
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
- Compound Butter. In a bowl, mix together butter, parsley, shallots, and garlic. Set aside.
- Cook Sausage (optional, however, if you eliminate the sausage, add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon ground pepper to the compound butter). Place a fry pan over medium heat. When pan is hot, add the sausage, breaking it up into smaller pieces with the back of a spoon. Cook the meat until it is done (no longer red). Remove meat from the pan with a slotted spoon and place it on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb the excess grease. Season to taste with salt and pepper. When the meat has cooled to room temperature, break it up further with a fork. Incorporate the meat into the butter mixture.
- Prepare Tomatoes. Cut the tomatoes from the vine, leaving the stem. Slice the cap off of the tomatoes. Using your finger, a small knife, or a small melon-baller, scoop out the interior of the tomatoes and discard.
- Stuff. Place hollowed-out tomatoes in an escargots dish (le poêlon à escargots) with the cut side up. Stuff the interior of the tomatos with the butter mixture (about a 1/2 teaspoon for each tomato. The stuffing should extend slightly beyond the top of the cut tomato). Place the tomato cap (with the vine) back on top of the stuffed tomato.
- Roast. Roast the tomatoes in an oven preheated to 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 7-10 minutes until the tomatoes skins have wrinkled and collapsed a little, the butter has melted, and the tomato caps have begun to brown. You will be able to smell the butter.
- Serve. Carefully remove the escargots pan from the oven and let it cool slightly. Serve the tomatoes in the escargots pan or carefully remove them and serve them individually. Serve while hot.