Whilst on holiday in Greece, I was fortunate enough to assist a cooking lesson by the local chef, Vassilis. During the lesson he showed us how to make five traditional Cretan dishes, including the famous rice-stuffed tomatoes, known as 'Gemista'.
20 large tomatoes
2 potatoes (peeled)
1 large onion
2 small aubergines
3 handfuls of parboiled rice
1 bunch of mint
1. Wash the tomatoes and cut the top off almost completely, so it forms a lid. Using a spoon remove the tomato pulp and place it in a large bowl. Repeat for all 20 tomatoes.
2. Using the large holes of a cheese grater, grate the tomato pulp, leaving it in the bowl.
3. Grate the potatoes, courgettes, carrots and aubergines in the same way, all in the bowl.
4. Grate the onion and add it to the mix.
5. Add salt, pepper and olive oil and mix, using your hands. Add the mint, roughly chopped.
6. Add the rice to the bowl and mix everything well, the mix should appear quite liquid. Cover and place to rest for 30 mins.
7. Fill each tomato to the top with the mix and close them. Place them in a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and cover with tin foil.
8. Roast in the over for 40 minutes.