PROVENCALE TOMATOES – TOMATES PROVENCALES
Oh my these are good. Tomates Provencale are a French summer tradition, usually baked in the oven. Here, I grill them, using perfectly ripe tomatoes that sing with flavor. Something about the heady seasoning here makes you feel that you’re on vacation even if you’re not – it evokes those hills, vineyards, and winding roads of Provence.
You can serve these glorious tomatoes hot (you do have to let them sit for a few minutes or they’ll blister), warm, or at room temperature. I like to serve these as a first course – they’re a terrific introduction to Beef with Smoky Olives (page xx).
ASTUCE: When you core the tomatoes, remove just the very core without making a huge hole in the tomato. Salting the tomatoes firms them up and seasons them through. These cook surprisingly quickly and the tomatoes get quite soft, which is what you want. Transfer them carefully from grill to plate or platter, using tongs and a metal spatula. Don’t be concerned if the skin is quite dark; as you eat the tomato you’ll find the fleshy part separating from the skin, which will stay on your plate.