The long awaited day has at last arrived. The tomatoes that I purchased this morning taste of tomato rather than water. It is a moment that I relish each summer and my celebration today will  be for the coeur de boeuf rather than the tearing down of Marianne’s blouse as the mobliberty_crop tore down the walls of the Bastille, which, if it achieved nothing else, predated the first topless beach in St Tropez by 150 years, give or take a decade, and may well have inspired Rudi phrygian capGeinrich. I have also noticed that in some imagery Marianne appears to be wearing a ripe, red tomato on her head  which shows the French compulsion to eat well, even when they are revolting, whilst confirming that Marianne had wisely gone shopping for the first good tomatoes of the season even though she had a pressing engagement involving the freeing of the downtrodden later in the day. History has shown that revolution must be the least successful of all political shifts. France remains a country run by the rich and privileged few and although America claims to be the land of the Free it lives by the maxim of everybody having a price which precludes the thought of anyone, let alone lunch, being free. Leaving revolution to the revolting it should be noted that we have not yet arrived at the tomato season in its full pomp but, to paraphrase Winston Churchill, this is not the beginning of the end but it is certainly the end of the beginning .


Big, fresh, sexy tomatoes are unquestionably summer food. Being so full of their own flavour they need very little addition, if any, but conversely relish so many: well considered combination of ingredients such as anchovies, olives, breadcrumbs,parsley, Parmesan, goat cheese, olive oil and garlic raise the already delectable to the sublime. For some reason I can’t attribute the following recipe to any single person and, on reflection, it’s not so much a recipe as an instinctive treatment of this seductive fruit.The nomenclature “beef heart” becomes evident on cutting one them in half: the opentomates_provencales_0015 face of the tomato bears little resemblance to a fruit or vegetable, rather a chunk of blood red meat. Once cut in half, dig out a chunk of the soft flesh so that a hollow is left in each half of the tomato. Prepare a stuffing of fresh breadcrumbs and herbs: I strip the crust from yesterday’s baguette and crumble the bread into the Magimix with the addition of chopped flat parsley, grated parmesan, the chopped tomato that I previously removed, seasoning and some olive oil to lubricate the mixture. Process to oily breadcrumbs, stuff the tomatoes to overflowing and put them in an iron pan which, at a later point, will be going into the oven. I start the softening of the tomatoes on the hob and, when the good smells start emanating from the pan, I put the pan in a  hot oven for about 45 minutes or until everything feels right. If the breadcrumbs start to burn, put some silver foil over them and carry on cooking. This simple dish is a revelation only needing good bread and a well dressed salad to make a perfect supper….several glasses of wine are optional to some but essential to me.

About Food,Photography & France

Photographer and film maker living in France. After a long career in London, my wife and I have settled in the Vendee, where we run residential digital photography courses with a strong gastronomic flavour.
This entry was posted in 2015, Baking, capers, Cooking, Cuisine bourgeoise, Flat parsley, food, Food and Photography, Food photographer, France, Herbs and Spices, Humour, Mediterranean food, Parmesan, Photography, Recipes, tomatoes, Uncategorized, Vegetables, Wine, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to Beefheart

  1. Sue says:

    Oh, I do envy you your deep red, luscious sexy tomatoes….nothing like a revolting good feed….

  2. catterel says:

    How I wish I hadn’t decided to go on a diet!

  3. Darya says:

    Wonderful simple recipe. We also got our first beefhearts and they are so juicy and delicious, I could just eat only tomatoes while summer lasts.

  4. Elyse says:

    Looking forward to trying this recipe out when tomatoes are back in season here in Australia. I can imagine the herby, breadcrumb filling complements the sweet tomato beautifully!

  5. Mad Dog says:

    “One large tomato was immediately peeled skin red . . . it bled into a red “O” and smacked behind accepted fangs ” – from Hey Garland, I Dig Your Tweed Coat by Captain Beefheart 😉

  6. Oh how I miss tomatoes tha taste of tomato 😦 We have one teeny tiny very green one on our tomato plants in England but I’m not holding my breath. Perhaps I should start wearing one on my head as a lucky charm. Happy Bastille Day. (Sir…the peasants are revolting….)

  7. I like the recipe. At first I thought Jennie was away and you were cooking beef heart. My mistake 😀

  8. Misky says:

    I am waiting for my homegrown to ripen. It’s a long and tedious wait but I’d rather do that than eat tasteless, watery tomatoes. I suspect 2 more weeks should do the trick. 🙂

  9. Women do need to multitask. Put food on the table, free a country, clean up after…. It never ends!

  10. Happy Bastille Day! Gorgeous tomatoes there. Wish I’d had some like that for yesterday’s ratatouille.

  11. Tomato season is a beautiful thing! I picked some in the garden in Les Baux last week and they finally tasted *and* smelled like they are supposed to taste and smell.

  12. Eha says:

    Hope you are ‘sleeping off’ a good bottle of red opened for Bastille Day ! Am keeping this until our next tomato season and it will be made with home-grown beef tomatoes [simple folk that we are the ‘heart’ usually getting lost in translation!]. Not much of this calibre reaches us via the supermarket shelves . . .

  13. To me there are 3 highlights in the summer as far a fruits and vegetables ….. strawberry season….. apricots…. and tomatoes, when the knife glides through them like in butter, I am in awe….having them as long as they last….. from my own plants. All three are kind of very sensual…

  14. Wonderful!…We have a framed print of the said painting of Marianne(by Eugène Delacroix I believe) in the living room. Jean-Pierre was most shocked to see that it had fallen off the shelf on Bastille Day. He was worried it was a sign that the republic may be in danger…bless him! Vive la France!

  15. I hope you enjoyed Bastille Day, Roger. I am still recovering.

  16. ardysez says:

    Mmmmm. It would be a perfect supper for me as well. It takes me back to picking fresh tomatoes from my Italian grandfather’s garden and standing there with a salt shaker and eating them like apples, sun-warmed and with juice running down my arm. Such a memory to have.

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