This is the time of year I take various breaks from my writing during the day to look out my office window and down into the verdant garden where I am blessed with a view of vines bursting with tomatoes. Widely pregnant orange and yellow Cherokees, slim, ovular San Marzanos, perfectly globe-shaped red Momotaros and tiny, thick-skinned grapelettes all waiting to be plucked and transformed into a variety of spreads, salsas, and dishes. The Cute Gardener spends many hours in the kitchen creating jars of sauce to freeze for a year of pastas and enjoys bringing paper bags of the luscious fruits to friends and family when the overflowing bounty grows too much for one household. Many get sliced at room temperature for avocado and cucumber sandwiches, diced as a cooling accompaniment to hatch green chile soft tacos, added to lazy Sunday BLTs or popped straight into the mouth offering up a beautiful summertime ratio of soft flesh to juice.
The challenge at this point then becomes the discovery of new ways to enjoy the constant parade. Although a facet of French cuisine lies in the realm of heavy butter, cream and pastry, I oftentimes, especially in the warm season, prefer its more rustic shadows where vegetables are given a pedestal to shine upon in their most simple form. For this reason, I chose a Tomatoes Provencal to use up a batch of Momotaros that were dying for the spotlight. Instead of using this as a traditional side dish, we spooned the roasted tomato halves on top of pasta and as we dug into them with our forks, the juice and pulp that ran from their steaming interiors became a nice, fresh spaghetti sauce perfectly light for the warm weather.
Heat an oven to 375 degrees. (We used a toaster oven.)
Grease a nine-inch round baking dish by swirling a tablespoon of olive oil.
Cut six tomatoes in half crosswise through their midsections and place the halves in the baking dish.
Sprinkle a mixture of three to five herbs across the tops of each tomato half. We used a blend of oregano, rosemary and thyme straight from the garden.
Drizzle a thin stream of olive oil lightly across the whole batch.
Cook in the oven for 20 minutes.
Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve!