Because I still have lots of tomatoes to devour before the fruit flies get to them first, I made two recipes that would surely win a spot on my new favorite guilty pleasure. The first from Peter Rabbit's Natural Foods Cookbook. Yes, the very one that Val gave to me when I was about 9 years old. Duchess and Ribby's (famous from their starring roles in "The Pie and the Patty Pan" by Beatrix Potter) Tomato and Cheese Pie is quintessentially English but I think would translate well to an afternoon picnic in Provence especially if served with a slightly chilled Beaujolais Nouveau .
The second from the cook book of my dreams: "Tartine" by Chad Robertson. This recipe for Tomatoes Provencal would go nicely at the picnic as well for obvious reasons.
Duchess and Ribby's Tomato Cheese Pie
4 slices stale bread
2 medium tomatoes
one handful of fresh basil leaves
1 1/2 cups grated cheddar
1 cup milk
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
3 dashes hot sauce
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a pie plate or 8x8 baking pan.
Tear the bread into small pieces and place them in pan. Slice the tomatoes into small pieces and arrange them over the bread. Tear the basil into small pieces and arrange over the tomatoes. Sprinkle the cheese over the basil. Beat the egg and combine with the milk, salt, pepper and hot sauce. Pour mixture evenly over the cheese. Place pan on a rimmed baking sheet and put into the oven to bake for 35-40 minutes until browned and bubbly. Remove from oven and cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Tomatoes Provencal adapted from "Tartine" by Chad Robertson
(Serves 4 to 6)
4 medium-large ripe tomatoes, or use whatever size you have
for bread crumbs:
2 slices day old bread
1 tablespoon herbes de Provence
grated zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Slice tomatoes crosswise and arrange on a baking sheet, cut side up. Spoon olive oil ( I use a squeeze bottle) onto each tomato half and season with salt. Bake until the tops start to slightly carmelize, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, make bread crumbs. Place the bread in a food processor and pulse to fine crumbs. Add the herbs, lemon zest, Parmesan and olive oil and pulse to combine.
Remove tomatoes from oven and spoon bread crumb mixture onto the tomato halves. Bake until the crumbs are toasted and browned, about 15 minutes. Serve warm.