Julia Child’s Tomates à la Provençale

The Grande Dame Julia Child, who passed away in 2004 just shy of her 93rd birthday, would be 98 tomorrow. In honor of her birthday, here is an adaptation of Child’s Tomates à la Provençale recipe, as published in a spiral bound cookbook Julia Child at the San Francisco Museum of Art, Tour of Dining Decor 1965, by the Women’s Board of the San Francisco Museum of Art. The book was a collaboration with the decorators for “Dining with the Collector” at the Museum and “Settings for Imaginative Cooking” at Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco.

Lori Writer / Heavy Table
Lori Writer / Heavy Table

Neither French, nor a chef, Child was at the time the host of The French Chef , a television cooking show created by Child and produced and broadcast by WGBH in Boston, Massachusetts, from February 11, 1963 to 1973. One of the first cooking shows on television, the show grew out of some special presentations Child had done based on the book Mastering the Art of French Cooking, of which she was a co-author.

Adam Sward / Heavy Table
Adam Sward / Heavy Table

Child has been credited for introducing French cooking to the United States at a time when it was considered expensive restaurant fare, not suitable for home cooking. Child, portrayed by actress Meryl Streep, is also the subject of the recently-released movie Julie & Julia.

The recipe also appears Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

The entire luncheon menu submitted by Child:

Coquilles St. Jacques à la Parisienne (scallops and mushrooms in white wine sauce)
Tomates à la Provençale (herb-stuffed tomatoes to serve with sautéed scallops or broiled meats or fish)
Coquilles St. Jacques à la Provençale (scallops sautéed with garlic and parsley)
Tarte aux Cerises, Flambée (cherry tart flambée)

Tomates à la Provençale
Serves 4-6 as a side dish

6 tomatoes
Salt and pepper
½ c fresh breadcrumbs
3 tbsp minced green onions
4 tbsp minced green herbs
¼ c olive oil
Optional: clove of crushed garlic

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400° or warm broiler.
  2. Cut tomatoes in half crosswise.
  3. Gently squeeze out seeds.
  4. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. In a bowl, mix breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, onions, herbs, oil and optional garlic.
  6. Spoon mixture into tomatoes.
  7. Arrange on a lightly oiled baking sheet.
  8. About 20 minutes before serving, bake at 400° or set under a slow broiler until heated through and top is lightly browned.
Lori Writer / Heavy Table
Lori Writer / Heavy Table


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