Saturday, March 6, 2010

Tomatoes Provencal

I had to make a side dish for a lunch that I was attending so I figured that I would take advantage of the wonderful, juicy summer tomatoes while they are still in season!  With this classic yet simple French side dish from Provence, you really can't go wrong when using ripe, good-quality tomatoes.  Heirloom tomatoes are great if you can find them!

The nutty and slight salty Gruyere paired exquisitely with the fresh herbs and sweet, juicy tomato.  Each layer gave a textural contrast - the tender, juicy tomatos, topped with crispy, toasted herbed breadcrumbs, and finished off with creamy, melted gruyere. 

This dish is great for an easy side for entertaining and also travels well.  You can arrange the stuffed tomatoes ahead and time and refrigerate until you are ready to bake.  It's also very easy to make in large quantities. 

Tomatoes Provencal


6 ripe tomatoes
5 slices of fresh white bread
1/4 cup shallots, minced
1/4 cup basil leaves, minced
2 tbsp parsley, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
pinch of fresh thyme leaves
1/2 cup Gruyere cheese, grated
high-quality olive oil, for drizzling


1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Cut crusts from the bread and process to make fine crumbs.
2. Cut the cores from the tomatoes, removing as little as possible. Cut them in half crosswise and remove the seeds with your fingers.  Place the tomato halves in a baking dish and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.

3. Combine the bread crumbs, shallots, herbs, and 1 tsp salt. Stuff tomato cavities and cover with bread crumb mixture.

Cover with foil and bake the tomatoes for 10 minutes, remove foil and bake for 10 more minutes until tomatoes are tender. Sprinkle with the cheese, drizzle with olive oil, and bake for 2 more minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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