Tomatoes a la Creme, although originating from France in the 1920s, has been a popular dish in many countries for decades. Inciting romantic verse and fond memories from grown-up children who recall happy moments in the kitchen watching their mothers and grandmothers make and serve the simple but delicious dish.
Maybe the thing that gets to the heart of people with Tomatoes a la Creme is the simplicity of ingredients. Tomatoes, butter and cream are easy to obtain all year round and when put together carefully, result in rich satisfying flavours that resemble dishes with much longer cooking times and a hint of dreamy sunlit days in the countryside.
The cooking technique is key: don’t kill it will too much heat. Gentle heat and slow cooking will soften the tomatoes, allowing the juices to flow into the pan and add the wonderful base flavour to the butter and cream. Although adequate seasoning of salt and pepper will complete the recipe, adding a few leaves of thyme or basil enhances the dish nicely as well. Serve with crusty bread or as a side to meat and fish.
Tomatoes a la Creme
3 medium-size ripe tomatoes
A large knob of butter
Salt and pepper
3 heaped tbsp creme fraiche or double cream
Thyme leaves or basil (optional)
- Cut tomatoes in half and prick all over with a fork. Melt butter in a skillet and add tomatoes cut side up. Cook for 2 minutes over a medium-low heat.
- Turn tomatoes over, lower heat and cook for 10 minutes. All the juices should be running out into the butter. (If you wanted to add some thyme leaves now would be the time to do it).
- Add cream and let it gently bubble away for a minute or two, ensuring the sauce does not dry out.
- Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper.
- If you are using basil as a garnish instead of thyme then sprinkle with chopped basil now.