Tomates Provencales

My sister’s boyfriend Steve is a great cook. He always changes recipes and improvises ingredients, ultimately improving the dish. For New Year’s Eve this year, the four of us decided to stay in and have a nice, quiet dinner at home. Steve did the cooking. He made basil orzo (which I will post next!) and tomates provencales, using a recipe from Pace of Provence by Yolande Hoisington as a guide. It was one of the best dinners, and completely meatless!

Here’s what the book says about Tomates provencales (Tomatoes with garlic):
Provence is a southern part of France well-known for its fields of lavender and the landscapes that inspired the painter Cezanne. Although this recipe is best when made with vine-ripened summer tomatoes, excellent results can be obtained with fresh tomatoes, which are available all year-round. Tomates provencales are delicious warm or cold. They make a great accompaniment to a dish or plain white rice or Basmati rice and are particularly delicious with lamp chops or fish.

Steve’s version:

My version before baking:
After baking:
With the basil orzo that will be posted next!
Tomates Provencales
8 large plum tomatoes, halved crosswise
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons garlic, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
2 teaspoons fresh Italian herbs (rosemary, thyme, oregano), or 1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
1/2 cup unseasoned fresh bread crumbs
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
2. Place tomatoes cut side up in a shallow baking dish. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic, parsley, herbs, and bread crumbs evenly over tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil.
3. Bake 10 to 15 minutes, or until the tomatoes are tender but not falling apart. Serve warm.
8 servings, 82 calories per serving
Steve’s notes and modifications: He uses herbes de provence and Italian seasoning, places whole garlic cloves between the tomatoes while they bake, and bakes these at 475 – 500F for about 30 minutes. He used dried bread crumbs when making it for us because it was all we had on hand. He may have used bigger tomatoes and more bread crumbs than the recipe states too, as judged by the pictures.

When I made it, I used 3 plum tomatoes, making 6 halves. I used fresh breadcrumbs from Italian bread, and herbes de provence to season. I baked uncovered for about 10 minutes at 475F, then continued baking covered for 20 minutes.

Source: Adapted from Pace of Provence by Yolande Matore Hoisington

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