That old familiar quote, “the best laid plans of mice and men go oft awry” was in full effect around here last night. I had planned to cook something so old-fashioned, so Southern, so comforting and that post was going to show up today right here. However…something happened that I’ve never had to happen in all my time in the kitchen. I was mixing up this big bowl full of old-fashioned comfort (can’t tell what it was and spoil the surprise for later!). I had two sticks of butter and two cups of sugar creaming away in the mixer. Added the first egg, added the second egg. And then, you won’t believe this…I dropped the entire third egg into the bowl shell and all. I couldn’t believe what I’d done. Of course, there was no way to save all that butter, sugar and eggs and it was too late to run out to the grocery store for more, so I just laughed it off and resolved to make that recipe this weekend. You’re going to love it when I do get it posted. Promise!
In the meantime, I hope you’ll enjoy this easy, tasty and beautiful recipe for Tomatoes Provencal. This dish is French in nature, hence the “provencal,” and absolutely delicious. It’s a great accompaniment for almost any protein – chicken, fish, beef, you name it and this goes with it. I was inspired to make this a few days ago from watching a new-to-me show on Cooking Channel, French Food at Home. I’ve really been enjoying that one and am getting quite interested in French food because of it. And the more I learn about French food, the more I see its influence in Southern cuisine. Really. And not just in Creole (of course), but across the entire spectrum of our varied Southern cuisine. I think I’m going to be exploring French cuisine quite a bit and I hope you won’t mind me posting what I discover.
Even though I am happily crediting the show’s host, Laura Calder, as the inspiration for my cooking this recipe, I believe it is probably a standard in French kitchens. Most likely other regional cuisines as well. I enjoy it even in winter when the tomatoes are not as flavorful as they are in summer. Those winter tomatoes seem to benefit from the cooking time and the bread crumb mixture along with the olive oil certainly helps, too. I hope you enjoy this one!
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Cut the tomatoes in half around the middle and place cut side up in a baking dish. Salt and pepper each tomato half.
In a food processor, add the bread, parsley and garlic. Process until you have coarse bread crumbs. I usually have a few slices of bread stored in my freezer. I especially like the end pieces for making bread crumbs. I toss them right in the food processer straight from the freezer, but you can defrost for a few seconds in the microwave if you want. Also, I didn’t have any fresh parsley on hand, so I threw in a tablespoon of dried. Just as good.
Divide the bread crumb mixture evenly over the tomatoes.
Drizzle with olive oil.
Bake for 20 minutes or until the bread crumbs are golden brown on top and the tomatoes have softened.