Stuffed tomatoes always sound fantastic, but too often you end up with tasteless tomatoes and a lackluster stuffing that falls out in a clump.
Why This Recipe Works
To concentrate flavor and get rid of excess moisture, we season the hollowed-out tomato shells with salt and sugar and let them drain. For the filling, couscous proved the best base, and rehydrating it with the tomato water drained from the flavorful tomato flesh and seeds made perfect sense. Sautéed onion and garlic add savory depth to the filling, red pepper flakes and lemon zest brighten it, and shredded Gruyère cheese makes for a cohesive texture. A topping of panko bread crumbs—pretoasted for proper browning—and more cheese adds crunch, and a drizzle of the cooking liquid mixed with vinegar is the final touch.