Tomatoes Provencales from French Grill Cookbook

Tomatoes Provencales

Tomatoes Provencales on the grill – tomatoes topped with an amazing savory blend of basil, thyme, garlic, breadcrumbs and olive oil - exemplifies the best of summer bounty. 

Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 6
Author Susan Herrmann Loomis


  • 6 large tomatoes 6 ounces; 180 g each, cored, cut in half horizontally, seeds removed
  • 2 generous teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 2 large cloves garlic minced
  • 1 1/2 cups 15 g fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4 cup 60 ml olive oil
  • 2/3 cup about 50 g fresh bread crumbs
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Sprinkle the tomatoes evenly with the salt (you may or may not use all of the salt, but give them a nice, even sprinkling). Place them, cut side down, on a wire rack over a baking pan or nonreactive surface, and let the tomatoes drain for 30 minutes.

  2. Mince together the garlic, basil, and thyme. Place the mixture in a small bowl and whisk in the oil, then the bread crumbs, to make a thick paste.

  3. Preheat all three burners of a gas grill, or build a medium-size fire in the barbecue. When the coals are red and dusted with ash, spread them in a tight, single layer, leaving a perimeter of grill with no coals under it; they need to emit concentrated heat. Set the grill over the coals and set the grill pan on top.

  4. Turn the tomatoes cut side up. Spread each tomato with the herb mixture, letting some fall into the cavities left by the seeds and spreading it evenly over the cut side. You'll have plenty use it all.

  5. When the grill is hot, set the tomatoes on it, cover the grill, and cook until the tomatoes are bubbling on top and the bread crumb mixture is golden, 10 minutes. Transfer the tomatoes to a platter, season with pepper, then let sit for at least 10 minutes before serving.