Posted by: acooksca | 04/03/2009

Goat Cheese Soufflé stuffed Tomatoes

tomato-stuffed-1aDuring summer I never fail to make John Ash’s recipe for goat cheese soufflé baked in whole tomatoes (pg. 40 in From the Earth to the Table, 1995, Penguin Books). Since the early 1980’s John has been an inspirational chef using classical techniques with field-fresh ingredients. Although this sounds commonplace from our 2008 perspective, artisanal and organic products were just emerging in the 80’s. His restaurant in Sonoma County became a birthplace of California Wine Country Cuisine.

Serves 6

6 ripe medium tomatoes
4 teaspoons butter
2 tablespoons minced shallots
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 ½ tablespoons flour
1/3 cup half and half
1 tablespoon dry sherry
½ cup (4-ounces) fresh, soft log-style goat cheese
2 eggs separated
3 tablespoons minced fresh chives
2 teaspoons fresh herbs such as tarragon, savory or lemon thyme
Salt and white pepper to taste
3 cups baby greens including some bitter greens such as frisee, arugula or watercress
¾ cup lemon-honey vinaigrette (recipe follows)

Slice the tops off the tomatoes and scoop out the seeds and pulp. Sprinkle with salt, invert on to paper towels and drain.

In a small saucepan over medium melt the butter with the shallots and garlic. Sautee until soft but not brown. Add the flour and continue cooking, stirring continually for 2 to 3 minutes.  Whisk in the half and half and sherry. Cook 3 minutes longer, to a smooth paste. Transfer to a bowl. Whisk in the goats cheese, egg yolks, herbs, salt and pepper.

In a sperate bowl beat the egg whites until they hold stiff peaks. Stir ¼ of the whites into the cheese mixture to lighten it. Carefully fold the cheese mixture into the remaining whites, just until barley incorporated.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spoon the cheese mixture into the tomatoes, mounding it slightly above the top. Place the tomatoes, sides touching, in a small, lightly oiled baking dish. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until the tops are lightly puffed and brown.

Serve the hot tomatoes at once on a bed of baby greens on chilled plates. Drizzle with vinaigrette and finish with a sprinkle of white pepper over everything.

Lemon-garlic Vinaigrette                                      makes ¾ cup

3  tables white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
dash salt
1 tablespoon honey or light brown sugar
½ cup fruity olive oil

In a bowl whisk together all ingredients. It is not intended to be emulsified, but it can be made up to 2 days ahead and whisked to recombine before serving.

From the Earth to the Table won the Julia Child “Cookbook of the Year” award and was recognized by the James Beard Foundation and The International Association of Culinary Professionals as a top cookbook of 1996. It has been revised and expanded in a newer edition.

To meet John Ash go to his site:


Originally published in Farmstead Cheese News by Karen Bolla, edited for A Cook’s California (A Cook’s CA)  by Karen Bolla.


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