Thursday, June 15, 2006

Mushroom-Stuffed Tomatoes from Croatia

There's not enough paprika in my life. Having decided this, I realized I knew almost nothing about the spice, and immediately wasted an hour and a half reading about it. ADD drives me nuts, but at least now I know that paprika is a dried pepper that originated in South America, that Peru exports 75,000 metric tons of it per year, and that – bizarrely – Zimbabwe is a major producer.

None of which has to do with the recipe I finally cooked using it. This is from Croatia – a zesty, delicious stuffed tomato that uses sweet Hungarian paprika. According to the label, though, my sweet Hungarian paprika was not produced in Hungary, but in Peru – 2 ounces of that 75,000 annual metric tons.

Mushroom-Stuffed Tomatoes from Croatia
Serves 2

4 medium tomatoes
1 small onion, diced
2 Tbsp oil
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp dried marjoram
1 Tbsp sweet Hungarian paprika
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 Tbsp flour
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1/4 cup breadcrumbs

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Saute the onions in the oil, add the mushrooms and spices, and cook for about 5 minutes, until the mushrooms release their delicious mushroom-juices. Add the flour and the eggs and cook until the eggs start to solidify.

Meanwhile, chop off the tops of the tomatoes and scoop out their pulp. Stuff them with the mushroom mixture, top them with the cheese and breadcrumbs, replace their tops, and set them in a deep baking dish. Fill the dish with 1/2 cup water, cover, and bake for about 20 minutes.

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