Recipe: Provençal Stuffed Tomatoes On Rice From Hillary Davis’s ‘French From The Market’

Cookbook author and culinary instructor Hillary Davis demonstrates that French food is an art that uses the freshest and finest ingredients from gardens, markets, and local vendors to create nourishing meals. In her book, “French from the Market,” she showcases traditional French cooking produce and foods fresh from the market, prepared for everyday dining at home.

Here, we share an excerpt of the recipe from the book.

Provençal Stuffed Tomatoes on Rice


Aside from being economical, these delightful Provençal stuffed tomatoes are served on a bed of rice that they are cooked on so it is an easy all-in-one meal.

In Old Town Nice, miniature stuffed vegetables are sold as walk-about snacks, and in most of the Côte d’Azur and Provence they make more of a meal, like this recipe I learned from a friend’s grandfather who lived near Saint-Rémy.

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for the baking dish

8 medium tomatoes

1 teaspoon sea salt flakes, plus more for the tomatoes

12 ounces ground beef or lamb

1 medium yellow onion, minced

3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Freshly ground black pepper

1 cup crushed saltine crackers or breadcrumbs

1 large egg

2 tablespoons whole milk

1 1⁄2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves

1 cup raw basmati rice, rinsed well

1 1⁄2 cups boiling water, divided

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Coat an 8 × 10-inch baking dish generously with oil.

Cut a thin slice off the bottom of each tomato so they sit flat. Slice off the tops and reserve. Working over a bowl to reserve the flesh and juice, use a spoon to carve out the centers of the tomatoes. Sprinkle the inside of each tomato with the 1 teaspoon of sea salt flakes, then place them on a paper towel, upside-down, to drain. Use a fork to mash together the reserved tomato flesh and juice. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, 1 tablespoon of oil, the onion, garlic, mustard, sea salt flakes, pepper to taste, crushed crackers, egg, milk, and thyme. Mix well with clean hands, then stuff each tomato cavity with the meat mixture. If there is any remaining, it makes a great burger or meatballs. Cover each stuffed tomato with a reserved tomato top.

Spread the rice evenly in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Arrange the stuffed tomatoes over the rice. Pour 1 cup of boiling water over the rice and around the tomatoes. Bake for 30 minutes. Take the dish out of the oven, pour the remaining 1⁄2 cup of boiling water into the rice, then bake for 15 to 20 more minutes until the rice is tender.

Spoon the rice onto the center of each plate and snuggle 2 stuffed tomatoes on top.

Whisk the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and a sprinkle of sea salt flakes into the reserved tomato flesh and juice, then drizzle this mixture in a circle around the rice on each plate to serve.

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