Pomodori alia Siciliana

dish to serve as a first course, Pomodori alia Siciliana (pom-oh-dor-ee ahl-lah si-chi-li-ah-na) may be served either hot or cold.

8 large firm tomatoes

6 tablespoons olive oil

2 medium-sized onions, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

4 oz. fresh breadcrumbs

8 anchovy fillets, chopped

3 tablespoons black olives, stoned and chopped

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano or

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon butter, cut into

8 pieces

Preheat the oven to moderate 350°F (Gas Mark 4, 180°C).

Place the tomatoes on a board and cut off the tops with a sharp knife. Discard the tops. With a teaspoon, scoop out and discard the seeds, taking care not to pierce the skin. Set the tomatoes aside.

In a medium-sized frying-pan, heat the oil over moderate heat. When the oil is hot, add the onions and garlic and fry, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes or until the onions are soft and translucent but not brown. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the breadcrumbs, an-chovies, olives, parsley and oregano.

Using a teaspoon, fill the tomatoes with the breadcrumb mixture. Place the tomatoes in an ovenproof dish large enough to take them in one layer.

Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the stuffed tomatoes and top each one with a piece of butter.

Place the dish in the oven and bake the tomatoes for 20 to 25 minutes or until the tops are lightly browned and the tomatoes are tender but still firm.

Remove the dish from the oven and serve immediately. If you wish to serve the tomatoes cold, allow them to cool in the dish, then chill them in the refriger-ator for at least 1 hour before serving.

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