Sausage and Maple Stuffed Tomatoes
Serves 6 to 8.
Note: Keep the tomatoes covered two-thirds through the cooking process and then uncover to let them steam-cook, which prevents them from getting overly browned and tough on top. Whether this dish is for an evening meal or hearty breakfast, rounding it out with a poached egg serves up a good combo. From Ross Sveback in “Lodge Cast Iron Nation.”
• 6 to 8 ripe medium tomatoes
• Kosher salt
• 1 lb. bulk country-blend pork sausage (don’t use Italian seasoned)
• 1 medium onion, cut into 1/2-in. dice
• 4 garlic cloves, minced
• 7 to 8 oz. button mushrooms, cut into 1/2-in. dice
• 2 tbsp. olive oil
• 1/2 c. pure maple syrup
• 2 c. plain dry breadcrumbs
• 2 tbsp. chopped fresh sage
• 1 c. (4 oz.) grated Parmesan cheese
• Coarsely ground black pepper to taste
Core tomatoes and, using a melon baller, scoop out the insides (save for another use or discard). Sprinkle inside of tomatoes with salt, and set tomatoes upside-down for 30 minutes on a wire rack set over the sink or a baking sheet to catch the juice.
While the tomatoes drain, cook the sausage in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat until no longer pink, breaking it into small pieces. Using a slotted spoon, transfer sausage to paper towels. Do not drain the fat from the pan. Add the onion and garlic, and cook, stirring a few times, until translucent, 4 to 5 minutes.