Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A taste of Provence

Juan and I will be traveling to France very soon. I am beyond excited! I haven't been home in more than a year and no one in my family has seen me pregnant yet. I foresee a lot of baby talk...

We'll be lucky to spend a week in my parents' second home in Antibes on the Cote d'Azur. I am looking forward to the unique sunlight of the French Riviera and sitting at the terrace of our usual cafe, right on the beach. I want to walk to the librairie and boulangerie to buy the Nice Matin (the local newspaper) and some bread, enjoy some shopping (maybe buy baby a few French baby books)...

Of course, Juan and I are also looking forward to some good food. We will celebrate his 30th birthday with my entire family (that's nearly 30 people) so my Mom and I are already planning the lunch menu. Right now we're heading for a dish called poulet aux ecrevisses, which I absolutely adore. It's chicken and crawfish in a creamy tomato sauce with a touch of cayenne. I will definitely keep you posted on that!

I cannot wait to eat some of the fresh fish from the Mediterranean. It's some of the best food memories from vacationing there when I was a child. And I know there is so much more that I need to experience still!

Thinking about the South of France inspired me to share with you a recipe for Tomates a la Provencale. It's a classic side dish in France but they're just as good on their own, warm or cold. I try to give you measurements in my recipe but there is no right or wrong. Just use lots of garlic, lots of parsley and herbes de provence if you have some. A good quality olive oil and you're all set!

My favorite dish to serve them with is a simple roasted pork tenderloin, along with rice or steamed potatoes.

Tomates a la Provencale (for 2)

4 big Roma tomatoes
about 1/4 cup of chopped parsley
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped or pressed (I count 2 cloves of garlic per tomato)
3 tbsp of plain breadcrumbs
1 tbsp of Herbes de Provence (optional)
Olive oil
salt & pepper

You may core the tomatoes if you prefer. Personally, I leave them. Cut the tomatoes in half, lengthwise. Using your finger, scoop out the seeds in each section of the tomatoes. Salt the inside and set them cut side down on a plate to drain for 15/20 minutes. 

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. In a bowl, combine together, the finely chopped parsley and garlic, the Herbes de Provence and the breadcrumbs. You can use the food processor if you want. 

Fill each tomato with mixture and cook in the oven for 45 min to 1 hour, until the top is cooked and brown. Serve warm or cold. 


Anonymous said...

Sounds like a wonderful trip you're planning! And, your tomatoes look fantastic.

Jodi said...

Have a great trip! Juan is a lucky guy :-)

Anonymous said...

Oh these take me back....I can almost taste these yummy tomatoes!

I hope you and Juan will be live blogging/twitting on your petites vacances!


Anonymous said...

That's one of my favorite summer dish (well maybe fall, it's often too hot to bake here in summer).

Heidi Leon Monges said...

hey girl lucky you! I picture you and Juan in the superbe French Riviera with it's wonderful beaches and perfect weather...I so envy you ;-)

Totally adore Tomates a la provenzal. In fact I adore all french food and all kind of tomato recipes.

I have very strong memories of the first time I went to South France to meet the in laws, my Mother in law made a simple tomato salad...oh my GOD, it was the best tomato salad ever in my life!!

bon voyage cheri!!

Joe said...

Mmm...they look delicious! A good French café in nearby Berkeley serves tomates à la provençale with many of their lunch dishes.

Laetitia said...

Hey guys! Thank you so much for the Bon Voyage wishes. I cannot tell you how excited I am to be able to share this with you. I LOVE sharing my culture with y'all!! :)