Tomatoes à la provençale: French starter (Recipe)

A recipe from the South of France, tomates à la provençale are an easy-to-make French vegetarian starter that both kids and adults will enjoy. With tips on how to serve it, drinks accompaniments, and much more.
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This Recipe uses:

  • Tomatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic powder
  • Parsley
  • Oregano
  • (Optional) Breadcrumbs

I am not really a fan of tomatoes, but I had to change my mind after eating this warm French starter in the South of France. A traditional recipe, provencal tomatoes (tomates à la provençale as it is called in French), originates from the Provence-Côte d’Azur region of France as you can imagine, near Avignon.

And in case you are wondering, it is a recipe is really easy to prepare. It is usually served as a starter or a side dish, depending on whatever catches your fancy.

There has been many a book written on Provençale cuisine. The 3 keys to cooking any provençale dish are olive oil, garlic, and the aromatic herbs from the classic French pantry. And to that end tomates à la provençale has it all in spades.

Tomates à la provençale served with potatoes and roast beef
Tomates à la provençale served with potatoes and roast beef

In provençal tomatoes, the tomatoes are drenched in olive oil, garlic and various herbs. They are then cooked for a long time and it is that long cooking process that makes the herbs and garlic meld into the tomato juice to then give it a tangy, almost bitingly caramelised flavor. The sum becomes more than its parts.

It is not clear as to when the recipe was created, but many countries have their own versions of stuffed tomatoes. In the Middle East, they are stuffed with minced meat, and in Italy where it is stuffed with rice.

As in those countries, provençale tomatoes are so flavorful that you can serve them as a starter, side dish, or as main dish with rice.

Picking fresh tomatoes

Now, if you wanted to cook this like a true gourmande (french word for foodie), you have to get the tomatoes fresh from the marché. Parisians like their Sunday Farmers’ markets, but they are nothing like the markets in Provence.

Imagine the bright sunshine, the little town square in Isle-sur-la-Sorgue with its famous market in its cobblestone streets. Locals bustling about with their straw baskets filled to the brim with fresh produce and flowers. These are the types of tomatoes a true gourmand would go for, fresh from the farm.

Farmers' Market in France
Farmers’ Market in France

But I digress. You can also buy tomatoes at your local supermarket and call it a day. (At least your local supermarket will have air-conditioning, parking and trolleys!) Better yet, you can just get the groceries delivered. I promise you it will taste just as good.

☞ SIMILAR RECIPE: Tomato bruschetta with balsamic glaze

tomatoes face down in a pan

Frequently asked Questions

What to serve with provencal tomatoes?

cutlery

As a main dish, you can serve just about anything, but my favorite combination is with lamb chops and lyonnaise potatoes. Freshly seared lamb on a grill and lightly seasoned with salt, pepper and a bit of basil and parsley, it goes beautifully with Provencal Tomatoes.

What drinks to serve it?

two wine glasses

For drinks, a bottle of chilled rosé wine is the perfect summer feast with provençale tomatoes. Keeping with local tradition, you can pick a Bouches-du-Rhone rosé or Aix-en-Provence rosé.

If you don’t like rosés, a chilled white from the region also works quite well. You can read more about French wines here.

tomates provencale

Provencal Tomatoes Recipe

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

Tomates à la provençale is a French starter, originating in the Provence in the South of France.

Ingredients

  • 4 red tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder,
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of dried oregano
  • (Optional) breadcrumbs

Instructions

    1. Cut the tomatoes in half and remove some of the seeds.
    2. Place the tomato halves face down on a lightly oiled pan and let them cook for 5 minutes.
    3. Mix in a bowl: the garlic powder, chopped parsley, salt, pepper, a pinch of marjoram or oregano.  
    4. Remove tomatoes from pan and place facing up in a casserole dish that can go to the oven.
    5. Add the mix on top of each half of tomatoes and then sprinkle liberally with breadcrumbs.
    6. Lightly oil the top of the tomatoes.
    7. Put a little water at the bottom of the dish and bake in the oven for 410F (210 ° C) for about 30 minutes.
    8. Serve while warm, 2 halves of the tomato per person.
    9. Bon appétit!

Notes

Skip the breadcrumbs to make it keto-friendly and gluten-free.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 88Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 324mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 3gSugar: 4gProtein: 2g

Note: We are not certified nutritionists and these estimates are approximate. Each individual’s dietary needs and restrictions are unique to the individual. You are ultimately responsible for all decisions pertaining to your health. This website is written and produced for informational purposes only.

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Serve hot or warm and enjoy! If you enjoyed that article, you may enjoy reading about more classic French appetizers and starters that are easy to prepare. A bientôt!

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