This dish makes an elegant starter but is probably better suited as a light lunch. Served alone or with a small salad and garnished with chive flowers the filled tomatoes look simply stunning. Chive flowers are not only beautiful but edible, too!
Preheat oven to 180C
4 medium to large vine ripened tomatoes
4 rounds of goat's cheese cut to fit the bottom of each tomato
Sea salt and ground black pepper
1 lemon, juiced
3-4 tablespoons water
100g unsalted butter cubed and chilled
small bunch of fresh thyme sprigs or tarragone sprig
4 quail eggs
4 chive flowers
Cut a lid from the stalk end of each tomato and trim the other side too if necessary so the tomatoes stay upright in the oven. Remove flesh and pulp carefully so as not to break the skin. Season with salt and pepper and leave to drain upside down while you make the sauce.
Heat the water and lemon juice gently on a low heat then whisk in the cubed butter, one piece at a time. Add the herbs and leave to infuse for 10 minutes. Place a round of goat's cheese in each tomato, divide the sauce (with the herbs) between each tomato, break a quail egg on top of each one and place in a greased ovenproof dish. Bake near the top of the oven for about 15 minutes or until the quail egg is just set. Serve immediately with a little mixed salad, garnish with a chive flower stalk.