Sardine & Kale Stuffed Heirloom Tomatoes

How do I come up with new recipes? I don’t sit at my desk and make them up, rather they just seem to come together all by themselves when I stroll over the market. Although this may sound corny, I truly let myself be inspired by the seasonal produce. That moment when I find something new or especially beautiful is when it all comes together. Last year I had such a moment when I found a bag of zucchini flowers on the market.

Cavolo nero

This year I’m working at a (yet) secret project for the Markthalle Neun in Berlin Kreuzberg – I’ll keep you posted. I get to see and often to taste the freshest regional produce – coming right from the fields of Brandenburg to the city. I was lucky enough to get my hands on some beautiful heirloom tomatoes and again there was this moment! Suddenly this Italian inspired summer dish came together, packed with gorgeous Mediterranean flavours of the ripe tomatoes, cavalo nero, olives, sardines, thyme and savory. I assume it would have been more classic to use breadcrumbs instead of the hazelnut meal, but trust me – the nutty flavour is perfect here, especially if you serve the tomatoes along the beans and roasted hazelnuts like suggested. I also had some cavalo nero left over which I simply sautéed together with the beans. Any greens or a light salad will work nicely as a side dish here.

Sardine & Kale Stuffed Heirloom Tomatoes (serves 5)

5 large heirloom tomatoes

small bunch (ca. 80g) of Tuscan kale (Cavalo nero)

1 tin (125g) sardines

80g pitted black olives

50g (1/2 cup) hazelnut meal

2 garlic cloves (+ 3 more to scatter around in the baking dish)

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

a few thyme springs

dash of lemon juice + 1 tsp lemon zest

1 tbsp olive oil

sea salt and black pepper to taste

Serve with:

1 kg green beans

1 bunch of savory

ca. 30g hazelnuts

1 tbsp butter or olive oil


Sardine & Kale stuffed heirloom tomatoes

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Cut a hole into the top of each tomato, remove the stem, but keep the top as a ‘lid’. Carefully scoop out the insides of the tomatoes (you can use it for sauces). Season the insides with salt an pepper and place the tomatoes in an oiled ovenproof dish or on a lined baking tray.

To make the filling, either use a food processor or chop the kale, two of the garlic cloves and the olives. Crush the sardines using a fork. Roast the hazelnut meal in a pan without oil, being careful not to burn it. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and add lemon, nutritional yeast, thyme and pepper (add salt as well if you like, but keep in mind that the sardines and the nutritional yeast have already a lot of umami flavour).

Stuff the tomatoes with the filling. Place the ‘lids’ on top and drizzle the tomatoes with olive oil. Half the remaining garlic cloves and scatter them around the tomatoes along with some more thyme springs. Place the baking dish in the oven and roast the tomatoes for about 30 minutes until they are softened.

Meanwhile trim the beans and steam or cook them until they’ve become tender, but still have some crunch. Drain them. Half a few of the hazelnuts and roast all of them in a pan without oil, set aside. Melt butter in a pan and sauté the beans, add the chopped savory, the hazelnuts and season with salt and pepper.

Take the tomatoes out of the oven and serve them along the beans or let them cool down and serve at a buffet or brunch.