Tomatoes provençal

Tomatoes provençal

By
From
Real Food by Mike
Serves
4
Photographer
Alan Benson

If I were to think of something that reminds me of being in southern France it would be this dish. A couple of these tomatoes and a glass of rosé and I am in heaven. I love oxheart tomatoes for this recipe as they are very flavoursome and hold a lot of pulp, so they don’t go too mushy when cooked. It’s nice to mix a couple of heirloom tomatoes in to add colour. Fresh breadcrumbs are best for this dish, as you get two different textures – crispy on top, and soft underneath to soak up the beautiful tomato juices. I prefer this dish at room temperature, as the tomatoes are very steamy when hot and a little harder to eat.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
3 oxheart tomatoes
80ml extra-virgin olive oil
1 pinch sea salt
120ml white wine
80g fresh breadcrumbs
4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
1/4 bunch thyme, roughly chopped
1/4 bunch flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1/4 bunch marjoram, roughly chopped

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C.
  2. Cut the tomatoes in half crossways and season them with some salt. Heat half the olive oil in a large, flameproof casserole dish over medium heat. Place the tomatoes in the pan, cut side down, and cook for 1–2 minutes until lightly browned.
  3. Remove from the heat and turn the tomatoes cut side up. Put the casserole dish back on the stove top, sprinkle the tomatoes with the sea salt, drizzle with the wine and cook until the liquid is reduced to a glaze.
  4. Put the breadcrumbs, garlic, herbs, the remaining olive oil and any pan juices in a bowl and rub them together with your hands with a pinch of salt and some freshly ground black pepper. It’s important to keep the crumbs loose, and handle the mixture very gently so as not to create a dough.
  5. Scatter the loose, oily crumbs over the tomatoes, transfer the casserole dish to the oven and bake the tomatoes for 15–20 minutes until the breadcrumbs are golden on top and the tomatoes are soft and tender. Spoon over any juices before serving.

Medicinal Benefit

  • Tomatoes are high in lycopene, which helps protect cells from harmful oxygen free radicals. Lycopene gives the red colour to tomatoes (and other red and pink fruit) and is said to help protect the skin from UV rays. Tomatoes also contain flavonoids, which help protect the eyes from macular disease by filtering out harmful ultraviolet rays. They also contain potassium, an important component of cell and body fluids that helps control the heart rate and blood pressure.
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