Cherry tomatoes Provençal is a super simple summer side that pairs juicy tomatoes with a crisp herbe de Provence gratin topping. It’s easy, versatile, delicious, and so French countryside!
cherry tomatoes Provençal is the casual-chic side dish of late summer
When the tomatoes are coming in fast and thick in the heat of summer, I need ways to use them up in a non-fussy, delicious way, and cherry tomatoes Provençal is just the kind of recipe I turn to. It’s a great accompaniment to any main course and it takes so little effort it’s almost scandalous! When you’ve been there, done that with the caprese salads and the tomato toasts, this simple gratin is super refreshing and versatile.
what you’ll need
Cherry tomatoes Provençal is a simple dish that relies on pantry ingredients.
- cherry tomatoes ~ any type will work. I used colorful heirloom tomatoes, but all bright red will be fabulous. Larger cherry tomatoes work best, but you can mix in some smaller ones, too.
- Can you use regular tomatoes? Yes, tomatoes Provençal was my inspiration for this recipe.
- panko bread crumbs ~ these Japanese breadcrumbs are extra crunchy.
- Can you use fresh breadcrumbs? No, they won’t give you the crunch you’re looking for. If you need to substitute, you can make your own panko crumbs, see instructions below.
- olive oil ~ use the good stuff, there’s a flavor payoff.
- butter ~ adds flavor and helps the crumb topping brown.
- balsamic vinegar
- herbes de Provence ~ a classic French herb blend of thyme, basil, rosemary, tarragon, savory, marjoram, oregano, bay leaf, and lavender, (sometimes fennel, dill, and chervil.) The blend is available in regular grocery stores.
- You might substitute finely minced fresh herbs for the dried…choose your combination from the list!
- Parmesan cheese ~ again, the good stuff! I call it Parmesan with a capital ‘P’, which is imported from Italy.
- salt and pepper
how to make your own panko breadcrumbs for tomato gratin
- Take a few slices of white bread and remove the crusts.
- Tear into rough pieces and add to a food processor.
- Pulse process until the bread is finely grated.
- Spread out on a baking sheet and bake at 350F for about 10-15 minutes, or until crisp but not browned, stirring several times during baking. Note: panko crumbs are pale, not golden.
- Let cool completely before storing in an airtight baggie or storage container in your pantry. Crumbs can also be frozen.
you have options for jazzing up your tomato Provençal
- Mix in a few anchovies and olives with the tomatoes for extra savory flavor.
- Grate up a couple of cloves of garlic to toss in with the tomatoes.
- Gruyere instead of Parmesan? Great idea.
- Instead of cherry tomatoes you might use a medium sized tomato (between a regular tomato and a cherry tomato in size) and fit them tightly in your dish.
- Bake it on a sheet pan for a crowd.
why I love this recipe
I’ve been making it a point to focus on really easy, do-able, weeknight friendly recipes this summer. Actually, it’s the way I cook anyway, so it comes naturally. This tomatoes Provençal side dish is great on so many levels: it’s such a simple concept, and, like a French gratin, it works perfectly as a side dish for just about any meal.
Who doesn’t love a tomato? And who wouldn’t love this little sweet/juicy/crunchy dish alongside their sandwich, burger, steak, or whatever?
This recipe obviously takes advantage of high season tomatoes, but because you’re baking them briefly, you can also make this sunny dish off season. Cherry tomatoes are available year round, and in fall and winter serve this alongside meatloaf, pork chops, or fish.
let’s have more cherry tomatoes!
Cherry tomatoes have a higher percentage of peel than regular tomatoes. With that comes extra flavor and a firmer texture. Plus cherry tomatoes are available, and delicious, year round, so after you’ve made your cherry tomatoes Provençal, try one of my other recipes…
- Cherry Tomato Caprese Salad
- Cherry Tomato Focaccia
- Easy Whitefish with Burst Cherry Tomatoes and Basil
- Grilled Cherry Tomato Bruschetta
- How to Dry Cherry Tomatoes
- Marinated Tomato Salad
- Bucatini with Burst Tomatoes
- Farmers Market Hummus
Cherry Tomatoes Provençal
- round or oval baking dish or gratin dish, I used a 9" round
- 1 1/2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup (heaped) panko bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tsp herbes de Provence
- 1/2 tsp coarse salt
- freshly cracked black pepper to taste
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted Note: if you use salted butter you will want to adjust the added salt in the recipe.
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat oven to 400F
- Put the ingredients for the crumb topping in a small bowl and toss together until well combined. You can give it a taste to see if it needs more herbs or cheese, etc.
- Toss the tomato halves with oil and vinegar.
- Arrange your cherry tomato halves, cut side up, in a round or oval gratin dish. There's no need to grease the pan. You want to completely cover the bottom of the pan so you can no longer see it, so this will be about a layer and a half of tomatoes. Don't stack the tomatoes more than this. If you have any super small tomatoes they can go in whole.
- Sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over the tomatoes.
- Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the crumbs are golden and the tomatoes are starting to bubble.
- Serve cherry tomatoes Provençal immediately, topped with more cheese.