Elizabeth Bard’s Petits Farcis Stuffed Tomatoes and Zucchini
This recipe comes from Elizabeth Bard’s latest book Picnic in Provence: A memoir with Recipes. This delicious summer recipe is published with her permission. The stuffed vegetables can be served as a lunch or light dinner.
Stuffed Tomatoes and Zucchini Légumes d’Été Farçis
This dish instantly transports me back to Jean’s garden — big, bright beefsteak tomatoes and croquet-ball-size round zucchini stuffed and baked to sagging perfection. Lovely for a casual dinner in the garden. Serves 8 as a light dinner
- 2 Slices Slightly stale bread (sourdough or dense whole-grain)
- ⅓ cup Milk
- 4 ripe Beefsteak Tomatoes (10–12 ounces each)
- 4 Round zucchini (7–8 ounces each) - see note
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large Red onion, chopped
- 1 cup Fennel chopped (about ½ bulb), with some fronds
- 2 large Cloves garlic minced
- ½ tsp Herbes de Provence
- Ground Black Pepper
- 1 handful Flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 1 large Egg
- 1½ pounds best-quality pork sausages (you can use Toulouse, saucisse fraîche, or Italian, sweet or hot)
- 1 pound Ground beef
- ½ cup White Wine
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Put the bread and milk in a small bowl to soak.
- Cut the tops off the tomatoes and hollow out until you have about a ½- to ¾-inch shell. Chop the pulp and reserve with the liquid.
- Hollow out the zucchini as you did with the tomatoes. Chop the inside zucchini flesh and reserve in a separate bowl. Place the hollowed-out vegetables in a large ovenproof dish, preferably one pretty enough to bring to the table.
- In a medium frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Sauté onion, fennel, and zucchini pulp for 5 minutes, add garlic, and sauté for 3 minutes more. Add chopped tomato pulp, herbes de Provence, and a grind of black pepper; simmer for 5 minutes. Add parsley and stir. Remove from the heat and let cool.
- Squeeze a bit of the excess milk out of the bread, chop into coarse crumbs, set aside. In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg.
- Remove sausage meat from its casings and break it up without overworking the meat. Add the beef, bread, and tomato mixture and combine — I use my hands for this part. Then add the egg and give the stuffing a final mix. Divide the stuffing evenly among the vegetables. Drizzle with the additional 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the white wine to the bottom of the dish.
- Cover the dish tightly with tinfoil and bake 1½ hours, until the sausage is cooked through and the vegetables are perfectly tender; the saggier the better, as far as I’m concerned. Remove the foil and pass under the broiler for 3 minutes to brown. There will be quite a bit of yummy sauce at the bottom of the dish.
- Serve on a bed of quinoa or wild rice. Pass a bowl of sauce.
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