CUT A TOMATO IN HALF, fill it with fresh breadcrumbs and an aromatic blend of garlic, parsley, and olive oil — the flavors of Provence — and Voila! you have Stuffed Tomatoes Provencal. I like to prepare this classic first course early in the day so I won’t feel rushed when guests arrive:
3 perfectly ripe tomatoes
1 cup breadcrumbs from fresh, white bread
1/2 cup finely chopped flat-leaved parsley
2 cloves garlic, pureed
Salt and Black Pepper
Cut the tomatoes in half. Remove seeds with your finger, then salt and pepper the halves lightly. Turn the halves upside down on paper towels so that excess juice drains.
Meanwhile, puree the garlic: peel the cloves and dice them roughly. Then sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Mash them down with the flat of a big knife, until a fairly smooth paste is achieved.
In a bowl, stir garlic, parsley, breadcrumbs, a pinch of black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil together. Spoon this mixture into the crevices of the tomatoes, leaving a mound of stuffing on top. Set tomatoes in a baking dish, and, if you are not going to bake them right away, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Just before baking, drizzle tops with a little more olive oil. Then bake for exactly 20 minutes on the middle rack of your preheated, 400-degree oven.
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