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Tomatoes Provençal

Serves 4-6

© by Manos Chatzikonstantis

These are a delicious treat. The important thing here is that the tomatoes are ripe and tasty. You can use a mixture of sizes – just not too big, though. As a starter, a couple of these alone are lovely. They’re also great with goat’s cheese, a green salad and walnut bread on the side.


  • Baguette ¼ (about 60 g), sliced
  • Garlic 3 plump cloves, crushed in a mortar
  • Parsley chopped, 30 g (½ cup)
  • Basil 8 large leaves, coarsely shredded
  • Thyme quite a few sprigs
  • Lemon Zest finely grated, 2 heaped tsp
  • Olive Oil 4 Tbs, plus 2 Tbs for the filling
  • Ripe San Marzano, Roma or Plum Tomatoes 10 small (about 700 g), halved lengthways

Cook It

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C . Spread the baguette slices on a baking tray and toast in the oven for a few minutes until pale golden and dry. Pulse in a food processor to rough crumbs – fairly small with some large bits. Put into a bowl and add the garlic, parsley and basil, then strip the leaves off the thyme directly into the bowl and add the lemon zest, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt. Mix in lightly and well.
  2. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil on the bottom of a baking dish large enough to take the tomatoes side by side.
  3. Using the point of a small sharp knife, prepare the tomatoes by first cutting all the way around just inside the skin (taking care not to pierce the skin). Then make 3 or 4 slashes across the top without cutting the skin so the flavours can seep through. Sprinkle the tops with a little salt, then heap a good teaspoon or more of breadcrumb mix over each, gently pressing down so the mixture holds in place. When they are done, line them up in the baking dish in a single layer, drizzle the last 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the top and grind black pepper over.
  4. Roast for 30 minutes, until the tomatoes are golden. Turn the oven setting to Fan and continue cooking for another 10 minutes, or until the topping is crusty and deep golden in places and the tomatoes look golden (make sure they don’t get too dark, or burn). Turn the oven off and leave the dish in the oven while the tomatoes cool a little and get a bit jammier. These are nice warm or even at room temperature.

Image and text from Now & Then by Tessa Kiros, photography by Manos Chatzikonstantis. (C) Murdoch Books.