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BLT cocktail tomatoes with basil

Time 1 hour
Yields Makes 24 tomatoes
BLT cocktail tomatoes with basil
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If your holiday entertaining plans this year center on getting together at home, simple finger foods are the answer. Here are three recipes that are my seasonal favorites; they take simple cocktail foods beyond a wedge of cheese and bowls of olives or nuts.

The tomatoes are colorful and provide just the right salty edge to go with drinks. They take a little time to assemble, but are worth it. I love the versatility of the Gorgonzola and goat cheese spread; it can be piped into endive leaves or celery sticks and sprinkled with walnuts and parsley or served in a shallow bowl to be spread on crackers, toasts, thick slices of apples or pears.

And don’t be misled by the simplicity of the rosemary chips. They are addictive and a welcome alternative to the norm. They hold up for at least a week, so they’re a nice do-ahead.

1

Use a sharp knife (serrated is best) to cut a thin top from each tomato, just enough to remove the stem. Use a tomato shark (a small, round spoon-like tool with serrated edge) or the small end of a melon baller to remove and discard the seeds, leaving the shell intact. Lightly sprinkle the inside with salt.

2

Place the tomatoes, cut side down, on a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Allow them to drain for 4 to 6 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.

3

Mix the crumbled bacon, lettuce, mayonnaise, minced basil and green onion in a bowl. (This can be made several hours ahead and refrigerated.)

4

To assemble, place the tomatoes, cut side up, on a work surface. (To keep tomatoes stable, use a sharp knife to cut a small slice off the bottom, taking care not to cut through tomato). Fill each tomato with about 1/2 a teaspoon of the bacon mixture until just nicely mounded, using a small espresso or measuring spoon or pastry bag fitted with plain wide tip. Top each with a small basil leaf or minced basil, if using. Serve chilled.