6 large tomatoes, washed and cored
2 slices pumpernickel bread (4 ounces total)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons finely minced basil leaves
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
Pinch freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1 (8-ounce) ball whole-milk mozzarella cheese, cut into 6 slices of equal thickness
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Have ready a baking dish that is at least 8 by 14 inches, or large enough to hold the 6 tomatoes.
Slice off 1/4 inch from top of each tomato, or enough to make a wide opening. Coarsely chop "lid" pieces and place in a medium mixing bowl.
Use a teaspoon to remove insides of tomatoes; coarsely chop and add to bowl (including seeds and gel). If necessary, trim bottoms of the tomatoes so they sit flat. Place hollowed-out tomatoes in baking dish.
Tear the bread into bite-sized pieces and add to bowl, along with the onion, garlic and basil, stirring to combine. Add 2 tablespoons of the cream, then the salt and pepper; mix well. Divide mixture among tomatoes in baking dish, filling them to top; if there is any left over, place it around stuffed tomatoes. Season tomatoes with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle the remaining cream on leftover filling or pour into bottom of baking dish.
Cover each tomato with a slice of mozzarella cheese. Bake on middle oven rack for about 30 minutes, until tomatoes are tender and cheese has lightly browned. Alternatively, cook tomatoes in the microwave on HIGH for 10 minutes. Serve hot or warm, with a little of the extra cream-enriched baked filling, if desired.
Makes 6 servings.
— Recipe from Hyattsville, Md., resident Imke Ahlf-Wien.