Here is our final installment this week for the third vegetable we were assigned. Ken is the official tomato stuffer in this house hold. He makes them many ways and we have loved them all over the years. I really liked this recipe of Julia’s. It was very easy and so very delicious. We have a little guest visiting us right now, Zack. A great friend for Amber, just like having a little brother. Anyway he looked at the tomato and said that he doesn’t like tomatoes. I told him to just try a bite and that was all it took the entire tomato was devoured, he loved it!!! I do make my own bread crumbs whenever I can and have them ready in the freezer. I use stale bread or bread crusts and whirl them in the food processor and then store them in a bag in the freezer. I just ran out of Herbes de Provence. We use this a lot when we are smoking poultry and it we just finished it on our last two smoked birds. It is not easy to find so I will have to locate some again when we are in a specialty store. I improvised by making my own blend using marjoram, thyme, crushed fennel seeds, powdered savory and basil. I added equal portions of all to add up to 1 tsp. It was perfect!!
3 Large firm ripe tomatoes
Salt and freshly ground pepper
For the Stuffing
1 cup bread crumbs, homemade preferably
2 Tbsp. minced shallots
1 tsp. dried Herbes de Provence
3 Tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
3 Tbsp. olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Set a rack in the upper level and preheat oven to 400F. Core the tomatoes and cut them in half crosswise. Over a bowl or the sink if you don’t wish to save the juice, gently squeeze each half to remove the seeds and juice. With your fingers clean the cavities of any clinging seeds. Arrange them in a shallow baking dish cut side up. If they don’t stand flat cut a small amount off the bottom of the tomato to that they will sit flat. Season with a sprinkling of salt and pepper.
Stir together the bread crumbs, shallots, Herbes de Provence, Parmesan cheese and parsley. Add 2-3 Tbsp. of olive oil to moisten the crumbs and toss to coat evenly. Spoon the stuffing on the tomatoes making sure that it goes down inside the tomatoes by pushing it into the cavities and then mound on top. Drizzle the tomatoes with olive oil. If making ahead you can cover and refrigerate at this point or bake for 20 min. until the tops are nicely browned and the tomatoes are hot but still keep their shape. Serve them hot in the baking dish or move them carefully to a platter.
Excerpted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child. Copyright © 1961 by Alfred A. Knopf. Reprinted with permission from the publisher Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.