Sunday, May 27, 2007

Waiter, there's something (stuffed) in my ... tomatoes with two types of filling

Waiter, there is something in my ... - a wonderful food blogging event organised by Johanna, Jeanne & Andrew - has reached it's fifth instalment: stuffed fruit/vegetables, hosted by Jeanne.

My entry for this round is stuffed tomatoes with two kinds of salad fillings. It's not really a recipe, just a tip for serving nice small tomatoes. The first filling is a cod liver salad that I have written about before. The 'recipe' is my mum's, and this is how cod liver has been eaten in our family for decades. I thought that was the only way of serving this particular fishy preserve, until K simply put a canned cod liver on the table. Apparently his family simply spread the liver on a slice of bread, straight out of the can. I prefer my way, and as far as I've understood, have converted him, too :)

The other recipe for wild garlic & cucumber salad is from my local bus stop. Yes, you read it correctly - bus stop. I knew that wild garlic (Allium ursinum) grows somewhere in our neighbourhood, but I had never seen it wild, nor had I ever picked it. One late morning in early April I was standing in a bus stop, waiting for the bus to take me to town, and next to me were two elderly Russian-speaking women, or babushkas:) My Russian is very rusty, so I didn't understand much of what was said, but my sense of smell seems to work just fine, as I suddenly realised that something was smelling very fragrantly and faintly garlicky. I turned to the women and asked them about the smell, and they kindly showed me their bounty. Eventhough I had never seen 'uncooked' Allium ursinum in my life, I recognised the green leaves immediately from photos - it was wild garlic! I was given a large bunch to go with, and two recipes to boot. One of the women claimed that the best way to eat it is with some cucumber, sour cream, and salt & pepper. The other swore by wild garlic, boiled egg, sunflower oil, salt & pepper. As they both seemed to be very knowledgeable about wild garlic, I took their advice seriously and have been religiously following it. I can tell you that after I found the secret hidaway near my house, I've been eating a lot of the first salad since. I'm yet to try the other..

Stuffed tomatoes with two types of salad

about 20 small ripe, but firm tomatoes

Cod liver salad

1 can of cod liver chunks, drained (reserve the oil)
1 small shallot, chopped
1 pickled cucumber, finely chopped
1 boiled egg, chopped
black pepper

Mix all the ingredients, add some of the reserved oil to make it moister, if you want.

Wild garlic & cucumber salad

a bunch of wild garlic, washed and roughly chopped
a small cucumber, washed, quartered or halved lenghtwise, and sliced
sour cream

Mix the cucumber, wild garlic and enough sour cream to bind everything together. Season with salt, if necessary (I haven't done it, as the salad has plenty of freshness and taste without any).

Now comes the tricky part. Halve the small tomatoes, scoop out the flesh and drain the juices. Stuff tomato halves with above-mentioned salads. Voila!

Other stuffed fruit & vegetables @ Nami-nami:
Baked red onions stuffed with mushrooms, feta cheese & pine nuts (March 2006)
Oven roasted pears with caramelised oats filling (November 2005)
Red peppers stuffed with spinach & mushrooms (April 2006)
Red peppers with cumin-scented halloumi cubes (November 2006)

Here are links to my previous Waiter there is something in my ... entries:
April 2007 (BREAD): a traditional Estonian quick mushroom bread, Seenekarask
March 2007 (EASTER BASKET): a selection of various Easter delights.
February 2007 (PIE): a great Russian puff pastry and fish pie, Salmon Kulebyaka.
January 2007 (STEW): my version (in collaboration with Anthony Bourdain:) of the French classic Boeuf Bourguignon.

UPDATE 1. June 2007: Read Jeanne's roundup here


Ilva said...

It looks gorgeous, I love stuffed tomatoes. And I love old ladies, they are so full of good foody things!

Katie Zeller said...

I've never tasted cod liver - I was threatened with the oil as a child...
I wonder if we have wild garlic here? I'll have to askt the neighbors. It sounds wonderful!
Pretty tomatoes!

Valentina said...

Pille, I love both recipes. I just have not yet seen cod liver. Will check out. Beautiful looking dish as well - the lovely red tomatoes all stuffed.Great entry.

Anonymous said...

The tomatos look lovely and I agree with Ilva, old ladies are great with their food secrets!

Anonymous said...

I'd love to try these recipes, but I need to know: what is written on the can of cod liver pieces?

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Learning new recipes at the bus stop is such fun!

Anonymous said...

this looks to die for! I love it!

Helene said...

Looks gorgeous and so healthy!
I could have so many in one sitting...

lobstersquad said...

I´ve recently discovered cod liver, on toast, with a bit of pepper. yum. wild garlic is still in season here, must try that salad.

Anonymous said...

Corr, nothing that exciting ever happens at our bus stop, how wonderful!

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Found your blog a few weeks reading your stories and recipes. Have added a link in my blog.

Jeanne said...

Oh Pille, how lovely! I never used to like tomatoes as a child and now I simply cannot understand why... They are so versatile and perfect for stuffing - as you discovered ;-) Thanks so much for this recipe - perfect for summer parties. Thanks for taking part in WTSIM!

Freya said...

A fascinating combination of fillings! I am particularly intruiged by the cod liver!

ScienceMel said...

Great red entry! Seems you have the same luck as me - or nose for a story. I'm always walking into fascinating conversations in the oddest places.

Andrew said...

wild garlic I never found round these here parts and the oil? As everyone else has said not really available. You will just have to serve these when we come round to occupy that spare room! ;-)

Pille said...

Ilva - these two old ladies were very helpful indeed.

Katiez - most people would think of cod liver oil when they hear of cod liver. They're pretty different, taste wise, so do look cod liver up, if possible..

Valentina - they're not as much recipes as simple suggestions. But still delicious!

Dagmar - indeed!

Pene - I believe it says "tursamaks" in Estonian or then "печени трески" in Russian. Look for it in the canned fish aisle.

Lydia - it is - and two recipes as well! I must keep my eyes, nostrils and ear wide open in the future as well..

Bea - thanks:)

Helen - it's easy to overinduldge on these indeed..

Lobstersquad - that sounds delicious, too - must try a.s.a.p.!

Sophie - oh, believe me, not all my bus stop sessions are so informative!

Anne in Oxfordshire - thanks and welcome to Nami-nami blog!

Jeanne - small tomatoes are perfect for summre parties with any kind of stuffing (considering that wild garlic is past its best season by now, I'm afraid; and cod liver is hard to come buy in the UK).

Freya & Paul - cod liver is quite unusual indeed, I cannot remember ever coming across it in the UK.

Sciencemel - I usually get a lift to town, but as K. was away, I had to take the bus. Sometimes it's worth it, you know:)

Andrew - wild garlic should be available in England - Skye Gyngell serves it in her restaurant and apparently it's locally foraged. Cod liver oil is also available in every pharmacy, but you'd need cod liver proper for this recipe, and that I never saw. If the latter suffices, then you're welcome throughout the year; if you want wild garlic as well, then you must come in April-May:) The spare room is available!