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Blue Cheese & Olive Stuffed Tomatoes Recipe

This year for football season I’ve decided to do one “game day” recipe per week.  Last week I made these chilled blue cheese and olive stuffed tomatoes, and we just LOVED them.  Definitely a winner for us.  Before we head into the recipe, let’s look a little more at the dish and the ingredients we’re using.

Like most things, stuffed tomatoes are a ubiquitous item.  Ever size, color and manner of tomato has been stuffed with thousands of ingredients.  I like this because that means I can prepare them many different ways, and it’s always going to be a new dish for me!

Generally, when small tomatoes are stuffed, they are served cold.  When larger tomatoes are stuffed, they’re usually popped in the oven for a baked treat to be served as an entrée or side for a main course. This makes sense because the larger tomatoes have more structure and can stand up better to the heat. This particular recipe is meant to be served cold as a finger food or appetizer.

Campari Tomatoes stuffed with Blue cheese and olives

For this recipe, I used Campari tomatoes since they are a bit larger than the cherry tomato we all know and love.  Camparis are known for being sweet, low in acid and lacking in mealiness – all pretty important when you’re looking to eat a tomato raw.  I like the size of these as well.  They can be eaten in one big bite, but I find them most comfortable as a two-bite tomato, especially when they are stuffed.

Now that we have our tomato base covered, let’s move on to our filling ingredients.  The type and quality of blue cheese here is critical.  The blue cheese plays a prominent role, and I suggest you spend a little more and get a higher quality cheese.  Preferably the quality of cheese that originates from a block that you have to crumble yourself.  While I LOVE Point Reyes blue cheese, the $20/lb price tag is not always feasible for me.  I substituted a lovely Valdeón cheese with tasty results!

Valdeón is a Spanish blue cheese.  It’s from the León region and is wrapped in leaves (traditionally, sycamore or chestnut) before shipping to market.  While it’s not generally aged prior to shipping, it is a little aged by the time we get it here in the grocery stores in the US.  Frankly, though, it is amazing with a little age on it. Valdeón will typically run around $10/lb, which I think is a bargain considering how tasty it is and how little you need for a big flavor impact.

Other recommended highly recommended blue cheese substitutes: Point Reyes (California, USA), Stilton (English), or Maytag (Iowa, USA).  Remember, quality counts!

As far as olives go, I recommend finding a grocery store with an olive bar and selecting from what you see there.  These olives tend to be of better quality than any jarred or canned olive that you find in a typical store.  For this recipe, I used a mix of garlicky Manzanilla and kalamata olives, but you can use whatever best suits your taste.

Also note that if you’re buying from the olive bar, make sure you select olives that are already pitted. It will save you time and hassle, trust me.  Another benefit of olive bars is that most have the roasted garlic I also use below.

Finally, if you want to make this recipe super easy, choose the chopped olive tapenade from the bar.  I know Whole Foods has tapenade, but I know our local Rouses market does not.  By using tapenade, you save yourself from having to chop the olives.  Just a little tip in case you want to make this super easy.

Tips:

  • These tomatoes are best if eaten the day they are made.  The quality of the tomato will really start to deteriorate within a few hours.
  • If you use Valdeón, be sure to cut away the rind prior to crumbling. It’s made of leaves and not meant to be eaten. Also, the cheese right under the rind can be very strong and might not be very pleasant.  Cut away about 1/8″ or so.
  • If you’d like, you can use raw garlic in this dish.  I would cut it down to a teaspoon, though.
  • If you’re having trouble finding Campari tomatoes or just prefer to use cherry tomatoes, that’s definitely fine. The filling for this recipe should suffice for a pint of cherry tomatoes.
Yield: 12-14 tomatoes

Blue Cheese and Olive Stuffed Campari Tomatoes Recipe

This stuffed tomatoes recipe includes delicious Valdeon blue cheese and olives and uses campari tomatoes. Quick, easy and tasty game day treat!

Ingredients:

  • 1 package (12-14 each) Campari tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped mixed olives
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion
  • 2 tablespoons roasted garlic (the kind you’d find on an olive bar in the grocery store)
  • 1/2 cup good quality blue cheese, such as Valdeón (divided)

Method:

  1. Trim 1/8 or less from top of tomato and scoop out seeds and pulp.
  2. Next cut off the tiniest sliver at the bottom so that your tomatoes will sit flat on a serving plate.  Be very gentle here because if you cut off too much you’ll not have a solid base for filling.
  3. After you’ve cut and de-seeded, very lightly salt the insides and place upside down on a plate lined with paper towels. This will coax out all of the excess moisture in the tomato.  Allow to sit 25 minutes while the liquids drain.
  4. While the tomatoes are resting, in a mixing bowl, proceed to combine the rest of the ingredients, reserving 1/4 c blue cheese for topping the tomatoes.
  5. Once the tomatoes are ready, use a small spoon to carefully stuff the tomatoes and then top with the remaining blue cheese.
  6. Set in fridge for one hour for best taste.

Prep:30 min

Total:1 hour 40 min

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