The French Tomato Dish Daniel Boulud’s Mom Made for Him Growing Up

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Good food is worth a thousand words—sometimes more. In My Family Recipe, a writer shares the story of a single dish that’s meaningful to them and their loved ones.

Daniel Boulud remembers fondly the late summer season in Lyon, when the tomatoes are firm and bulging and brighter, redder, sweeter than they will be for a long, long time.

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“Like St. Louis is the gate to the West, Lyon is the gate to Provence,” the chef and restaurateur tells me over the phone. As the heat swells for one final wave in New York, he remembers the French family dish that summer’s last sputter always makes him crave. “My mother, my grandmother, everyone has their own interpretation of tomates farcies.”

The dish, which is essentially stuffed tomatoes, is a Provençal classic. It’s a rather simple recipe coming from the Michelin star–winning chef, known for his towering, complex, and composed French dishes. Still, tomato farcie awakens in him something a more classically elegant meal could never.

“Even I had stuffed tomatoes growing up,” says Executive Chef Chris Stam of db Bistro Moderne. “But the American ones are very different.”

To make the French dish, you start by gathering eight ripe, red, thick-skinned tomatoes and cutting of their tops, careful to save them on the side. Out comes the flesh of each one and in goes a mixture of pork, mushrooms, breadcrumbs, and a medley of herbs and spices.

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“My mother made it with a lot of greens and ground meat,” Boulud remembers. “There was a little bit of egg inside in the middle, as well as garlic and onions and seasoning. Sometimes a little bit of cheese. Then she bakes the tomato in a dish with rice and creates almost like a pilaf.” Sometimes, he says, he even likes to include a little pre-cooked rice in the stuffing mixture.

Boulud plays liberally with his own recipe today. He recommends changing out the pork for ground beef or shredded rabbit, even liver. Or throwing some sautéed red peppers and zucchini into the mix. Even some ripped bread. The only thing he asserts is to make sure the tomatoes are round and thick and easy to core—like vine-ripened tomatoes.

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As for how he would serve it, Boulud mentions a big friendly salad or some sturdy green vegetables like summer beans.

And the best part? The tomatoes are just as good cold the next day.

Got a family recipe you’d like to share? Email [email protected] for a chance to be featured.

Danh mục: Food

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