As autumn draws in, I'm still craving the tastes and colours of summer. I get quite down thinking about bright, red juicy tomatoes, drizzled with olive oil and eaten alfresco in the sunshine. And while summer is well and truly behind us now, this weekend I decided to dedicate brunch to the season and bid it farewell, before I start tucking into cheesy mash and meat pies in order to prepare for winter hibernation.
I came up with an Italian take on this Iranian recipe for cheese-baked egg-stuffed tomatoes. Instead of Middle Eastern spices, I chose pesto, topped with extra parmesan for a delicate crunch. Served up with my favourite griddled bread, this was a wonderful light brunch for a Saturday morning.
Recipe - serves two
Take four large tomatoes and using a paring knife or teaspoon scrap out the pulp and keep to one side.
Fry off one shallot in a little olive oil and add 100g of pancetta and fry until crispy. Add the tomato pulp and a tablespoon of pesto. Season and warm through.
Refill the mixture into the hollowed-out tomatoes leaving space for one egg per tomato.
Crack an egg into a ramekin and gently transfer to the tomato, repeat for the other three - I found I had too much egg so I threw away part of the white until the yolk fit snuggly.
Sprinkle over parmesan, and a grind of black pepper. Bake for 15-20 mins at 190 degrees until the egg has set.
While baking, griddle two or three slices of toast until nicely charred.
Serve with the tomatoes to mop up the tomatoey, eggy goodness.