The JC100: Provençal Tomatoes

JC 100 Julie ChildHello and welcome to Week 12 of the JC100 Celebration! This week we have a cornucopia of vegetable dishes to choose from including Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce, Celery Root Rémoulade, and Provençal Tomatoes.

Few bites of food are more sublime than a perfectly cooked spear of spring asparagus dripping with a big dollop of lemony, buttery Hollandaise sauce, but alas, its July, and asparagus season has come and gone.

Celery Root Rémoulade is a delightfully crisp and refreshing slaw made from shredded (or julienne) celery root tossed with a mayonnaise-based sauce (often with mustard, chopped herbs, capers and gherkins). The last time I enjoyed this French bistro classic was in February at Mon Ami Gabi in Las Vegas where they served it nestled beneath a perfectly cooked jumbo lump crab cake. Regrettably, celery root is at its best in the cooler months of fall, winter and early spring.

For me, the obvious choice was Provençal Tomatoes.  As Julia said, “it is easy to love tomatoes in summer” when they are in season and bursting with flavour.

Three Tomatoes on the Vine

 Julia Child’s Recipe for Stuffed Tomatoes Provençal

 

The JC100: Provençal Tomatoes
Recipe Type: Side Dish
Author: Julia Child
Serves: 6
Excerpted from Julia & Jacques Cooking at Home by Julia Child and Jacques Pépin. Copyright © 1999 by A La Carte Communications. Reprinted with permission from the publisher Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.
Ingredients
  • 3 large firm ripe tomatoes
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs
  • 2 Tbs minced shallots
  • 1 tsp dried herbes de Provence
  • 3 Tbs freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 to 3 Tbs chopped parsley
  • 3 to 4 Tbs olive oil
Instructions
  1. Set a rack on the upper-middle level and preheat the oven to 400 F.
  2. Core the tomatoes and cut them in half crosswise. Over a plate or bowl, squeeze each half gently to force out the seeds and juice (reserve for stock). With your fingers, clean the cavities of any clinging seeds. Arrange in the baking dish cut side up. If any halves are wobbly or tilted, trim a bit off the bottom so that they sit flat in the pan. Season with a sprinkling of salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
  3. Stir together the bread crumbs, shallots, dried herbs, grated cheese, and chopped parsley in a small bowl. Add 2 or 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, tossing well to moisten the crumbs evenly.
  4. Spoon the stuffing into the tomato halves, pushing it down into the cavities and mounding on top. Drizzle a scant teaspoon of oil over the top of each half.
  5. Bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until the topping has browned and the tomatoes are hot but still keep their shape. Serve hot in the baking dish, or move them carefully to a clean platter.
Notes

Do-ahead Notes:
The tomato halves can be stuffed several hours in advance and refrigerated before baking.

Julia on Bread Crumbs:
I always use freshly made bread crumbs – never the packaged dry kind, which can be stale and have an off taste. Start with homemade-style white bread, crusts removed, either genuinely home-baked or a commercial variety like Pepperidge Farm that has some texture and chew. If the bread is a day or two old, so much the better, since it is easier to make crumbs from bread that is slightly dry. The simplest method is to tear the bread into small chunks, then pulse them, about 2 cups at a time, in a food processor until the crumbs have the texture you want. You can also use an electric blender, but work in smaller batches.

Although Julia recommended using freshly made bread crumbs, I used Panko instead. Panko is a Japanese-style breadcrumb made from bread without crusts.  The crustless bread is coarsely ground into airy, large flakes that stay crisper longer than standard breadcrumbs. After last week’s texturally-challenged Ratatouille, I wanted to be sure there was more than enough crunch to contrast the softness of the tomatoes, and the Panko worked beautifully!

Ingredients for Provencal Tomatoes including tomatoes, bread crumbs, herbs de provence, shallots and parmigiano reggiano

 And it never hurts to use the King of Cheeses – Parmigiano Reggiano!

A wedge of Parmigiano Reggiano on a piece of parchment paper

 

Six tomato halves with seeds removed, seasoned and arranged in a baking pan

 

A single serving of tomatoes provencal

 

A single serving of Julia's stuffed tomatoes provencal

For Julia’s Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce recipe, check out the great post from fellow JC100 bloggers Carlene and Bob at BS in the Kitchen, and for Julia’s Celery Root Remoulade recipe, pop over to Noshing with the Nolands where Tara has it posted (along with a perfect tomato rose)!

Related articles

 

2 Comments

  1. This sounds delicious, and not difficult to prepare. Wonderful recipe for the crop of summer tomatoes!

    Reply
    • This is one of my favourite JC100 recipes – easy, tasty and versatile! I had mine for dinner with a grilled rib eye one night and then warmed up the following morning with an omelette. And as you say, it definitely makes the most of the season’s bounty.

      Thanks for stopping by :-)

      Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Day 225–A Locavore Birthday for Julia Child « yearofhealthierliving - [...] of the night were the stuffed tomatoes and the sautéed zucchini. The recipe for the tomatoes is HERE and …
  2. Julia Child’s Tomatoes Provençal | bites out of life - [...] Child’s Tomatoes Provençal Adapted from The Uneducated Palate, who’s recipe is, of course, from Julia [...]

Leave a Reply