Provence is the fruit and vegetable garden of France, where much of its most beautiful produce is grown. These ingredients, combined with Provence’s unique identity, position, and history have resulted in a cuisine full of heart, balance, and soul―a cuisine that showcases its peoples’ reverence for the produce, the changing seasons, and the land.
Caroline Rimbert Craig’s maternal family comes from the southern foothills of Mont Ventoux, where the sun beats hard and dry, but aromatic herbs, vines, and fruit trees prosper. This is her guide to cooking the Provençal way, for those who want to eat simply but well, who love to cook dishes that rhyme with the seasons, and who want to recreate the flavors of the Mediterranean at home, wherever that may be.
With stunning colour photographs to accompany the recipes, the book is also interspersed with shots of Provence’s beautiful landscapes, reflecting the region’s rich culinary culture.
Delicious warm or at room temperature, my preferred way of eating these is very simple—on a slice of toasted sourdough bread, spread with goat cheese if I have some. Cooking Tomates Provençales is straightforward, but as with all tomato dishes, salt is the most important ingredient: it should be added liberally since it unlocks their flavour.
10 medium tomatoes
3 garlic cloves, crushed
3 big pinches of sea salt flakes
2 pinches of freshly ground black pepper
20 basil leaves
1–2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
3–4 tablespoons olive oil
Preheat the oven to 425˚F (220˚C) and slice the tomatoes in half widthways. Place the halves, cut-side up, on a baking pan. Distribute the garlic between the tomatoes, tucking it in so it doesn’t sit on the surface.
Sprinkle with plenty of salt and black pepper, followed by the basil leaves and breadcrumbs. Finish with a generous drizzle of olive oil, then bake in the oven for 30–35 minutes, until the tomatoes are oozing and beautiful.
Recipes excerpted from Provence: The Cookbook by Caroline Rimbert Craig, published by Interlink Books. Reprinted with permission of the publisher.