Provencal Tomatoes are a super easy and healthy side dish with that classic French panache, make them with classic red or colorful heirloom tomatoes ~ who thought something so simple could be so delicious?
It’s Monday again, and those beautiful heirloom tomatoes from the farmer’s market are sitting on the counter. Almost too pretty to eat. I had big plans for them. Maybe a Tomato Tart, or a fancy Shrirazi Salad. But my youngest daughter gets home from college today, and her 20th birthday is Tuesday. I’ve got presents to wrap and a cake to bake, so these tomatoes will just have to get the minimal treatment.
This recipe is authentic— My inspiration comes from Dani, who made them on her trip to France last year. She got her recipe from a cookbook that was in the kitchen of the home they were renting. But this dish has vintage American cache, too. They would have been right there, next to your steak, throughout the 50s, 60s at any restaurant worth its salt.
It’s also simple— all you do is lop off their tops, scoop out a bit of the innards, and stuff with a mix of bread crumbs, herbs and cheese. Drizzle and bake.
And satisfying—they hit all the high points: crunchy, cheesy, juicy, fresh, and sweet.
Not to mention healthy—there’s no reason these can’t be a meal, with a loaf of bread to soak up all the juices, a salad, and some wine.
- 6 good ripe tomatoes, still somewhat firm
- fresh cracked pepper
- herbes de Provence
- a sprinkle of lemon juice
- 3/4 cup bread crumbs
- about 1/3 cup fresh herbs of your choice, finely chopped
- 1 or 2 cloves of garlic, minced (optional)
- about 1/2 cup grated hard Italian cheese of your choice
- olive oil
- Set oven to 350F
- Slice the tops off the tomatoes and scoop out just a little of the pulp from the center of each one.
- Arrange the tomatoes in an oven proof dish and sprinkle them with the salt, pepper, herbes de Provence, and lemon juice.
- In a small bowl mix together the bread crumbs, fresh herbs, garlic, and cheese.
- Sprinkle the mixture heavily over each tomato, filling the cavities. You can use any herbs you like, I used a combination of tarragon, basil, chives and thyme because that's what I had around.
- Drizzle the tomatoes liberally with olive oil.
- Bake for about 15 minutes, then put them under the broiler briefly to get browned. Serve while nice and hot.