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Gratin tomatoes with herbs, so called provenzale style (we wonder why)

Pomodori gratinati, agli aromi, cosiddetti alla "provenzale" (chissà perché)

  • 6 tomatoes not too much ripe, cut in two pieces along their length
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1 small bunch of parsley
  • breadcrumbs
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
Dig up the tomatoes a little bit removing the seeds and leaving the pulp. Lay them over a cloth or a trencher, on the cut part, in order to drain them.
Take a frying pan, put 4-5 spoons of oil and start to fry the tomatoes, over a medium-brisky heat: firstly fry the concave part and then turn them with a small spatula and fry also the convex part, you need 5-6 minutes for each side. Then take them out from the frying pan and put them in a baking tin, laying them on the convex part, with the opening upwards. Then add some more oil in the frying pan and gradually fry the remaining tomatoes and then put them in the baking tin; it is important that in the frying pan will remain some oil and some sauce created by the tomatoes. In this kind of seasoning put garlic, parsley and basil (finely chopped) and brown them, continuously turning them; then add 6 spoons of finely breadcrumbs and toast, for 4-5 minutes, always over a medium heat and continuously turning, taking care that anything will burn.
Take out from the pan and with this aromatic stuff fill the tomatoes, without adding anything else. Cook them in the oven for 3-4 minutes at the temperature of 200° C, then put them in the plates and serve like a main course.
This type of recipe, even if with more or less ingredients, can be found in all the Tyrrhenian regions, from Provenza to Sicilia, through Liguria, Lazio and Campania which, together with Tuscany, present tomatoes cooked more or less in the same way. It is not easy to establish from which cooking this recipe derives: but is it important? This recipe is delicious and this is enough.

A Giuseppe Alessi recipe
Translated by Gianna Toni
Picture by Kee-Ho Casati


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