Tomatoes, olive oil, garlic and herbs. That’s all. All the flavors of South France in a single recipe.
I’m not sure what the best in this recipe is: the tomatoes themselves, or the sauce…
At home, we cook Provencal tomatoes for a long time, so that they become well cooked, almost over-cooked and candied, to the point that the sauce becomes somewhat caramelized. Tomato juice then mixes with olive oil, garlic and herb flavors added.
With this dish, no fuss. The best is to serve Provencal tomatoes directly in the pan. We don’t want to lose an ounce of the delicious sauce. It’s great served with rice and even better if you dare putting fresh baguette bread slices in the sauce to eat all of it.
The history of this dish is not clear. Tomatoes were imported to France from America. South France Provencal food gradually became different from Italian food in the 19 century. What’s important is that it’s incredibly flavorful and a typical taste of South France.
The original recipe uses parsley instead of thyme. And some add bread crumbs. I’m not found of this.
You may think that there are too much olive oil in this recipe but that’s what add taste to it. You can reduce the amount of olive oil if you prefer. Then cover your pan when you cook so that tomatoes won’t stick to the pan. Another solution is to remove part of the sauce before serving and use it in a salad dressing or for preparing taboule.
Ingredients are given for 4 serves but you may adjust according to the size of your pan. I use all the pan I have and that can fit on my stove and cook lots of tomatoes at the same time. They are also good reheated (if there are leftovers!).
Provencal Tomatoes, almost Candied
- 8 tomatoes
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic depending on their size, minced
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon thyme or herbes de Provence mixed herbs
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- In a medium pan, heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil.
- Cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise and place them in the pan, the cut-surface touching the pan. Salt. Do not remove the juice and pips as this will bring flavor to the sauce. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Mince garlic and remove the springs of the thyme.
- Flip the tomatoes on the other side and season with minced garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Reduce the heat and cook for 30 to 45 mintues.
- Serve with rice.