After the last attempt proved delicious but a bit salty, I tried the recipe again and it was even better. This is a real winner. Here is the original recipe, but if you plant to make this exceptional recipe, learn from my mistakes and read this post as well. The problem was that the original recipe had too much salt. Too many anchovies, but also, I salted inside of the tomatoes. Here is the recipe with some slight alterations, adjusted for making 4 stuffed tomatoes:

Some of the ingredients for round 2
Some of the ingredients for round 2

Stuffed Oxheart Tomatoes with Olives and Anchovies

  • 4 large ox heart or beefsteak tomatoes (I used two large Cor di Bue and one medium Brandywine tomato)
  • 4-5 fresh cured anchovies
  • A mix of 20 or so large olives (choose non-salty varieties, look for the buttery, nutty kinds. I used 3 types)
  • 2 shallots
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 8 large basil leaves
  • 2 substantial sprigs of marjoram, largest stems remved
  • 2 substantial sprigs of thyme, largest stems remved
  • 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 or 3 slices of semolina bread (I used an Italian loaf from my grocer’s bakery that had semolina flour in the ingredients)
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper (or to taste)

Wash and dry the tomatoes, cut the top open and use a spoon to scrape out the pulp and seeds (Keep this goodness from some other use). My tomatoes were so ripe they were almost too soft, but with care, they were hollowed out nicely. The more ripe, the better tasting dish!

Prepped Cour di Bue tomatoes
Prepped Cour di Bue tomatoes

Pit and coarsely chop the olives. Mince the garlic and chop the shallots. Chop the thyme and marjoram very finely. Roll and slice the basil into fine, attractive strips. Finely chop the anchovies.

Pitting olived the old fashioned way is laborious, but its the only way to get good olives that aren't ruined with salt.
Pitting olived the old fashioned way is laborious, but its the only way to get good olives that aren’t ruined with salt.

Cut the bread into 1/2” cubes and sauté in a hot skillet with a drizzle of olive oil. They should be lightly browned and crisp on the outside, but don’t worry if all the sides don’t get browned. Just stir them around and enjoy feeling like you know how to cook!

The stuffing all mixed up and ready to be spooned into the tomatoes.
The stuffing all mixed up and ready to be spooned into the tomatoes.

Combine all the stuffing ingredients in a bowl (everything but the tomatoes) and mix it thoroughly to get all the flavors and herbs mingled well. Look out for the anchovies, you should probably distribute the chopped mass into the mix in little bits, otherwise it can stick together in a large mass. Yuck! Once thoroughly mixed, carefully fill the tomatoes, pack them tightly, don’t waste it. Bake in preheated oven at 450° for 15 minutes or until tomatoes are soft and well done. You may find it beneficial to make some rings of foil to seat your tomatoes in if they are true ox hearts, otherwise they will fall over. A large beefsteak will stand on its own.

Foil rings help the pointy-end oxhearts stand in the oven.
Foil rings help the pointy-end oxhearts stand in the oven.

That’s it! This time there were no translation errors, and the adjustments helped avoid the saltiness. This is a very savory dish, I enjoy it as a main course, but it would make a fantastic side to a creamy pasta dish. I had a bit of feta cheese with mine (yeah, more saltiness, but it was delicious) and believe this is the best stuffed tomato I’ve ever had. Worth the labor.

The final dish, delicious!
The final dish, delicious!
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