Tomato Season!

July 8, 2015


Someone recently asked me to list favorite cookbooks, and this is the first one that came to mind.


Edouard de Pomiane was a scientist, a writer and one of the world's greatest demystifiers of the cooking process. He was also, at least judging from his writing and radio programs, a fascinating man with a wicked sense of humor.  I'm sorry so few of his books have been translated into English.

Cooking in Ten Minutes is pretty much the opposite of its American counterpart, The I Hate to Cook Book.  Pomiane shows you how to make good food from fresh ingredients in very little time with a minimum of fuss.  Among his more useful ideas is the notion of boiling potatoes when you have the time to do it and leaving them in the refrigerator. When hunger hits he has a number of suggestions for fast recipes that use them.

Reading Pomiane is always a joy.  I recently came upon this little gem, which I plan to serve tonight for dinner.

De Pomiane‚Äôs Tomates a la Creme 

Take 6 tomatoes. Cut them in halves.  Melt a  lump of butter in a frying pan, put in the tomatoes, cut side down, and puncture the tops with a sharp knife.  Let them cook for 5 minutes.

Turn them over, and sprinkle with salt and cook for ten more minutes.  Turn them again so that the juice spread through the pan.  Turn the tomatoes cut side up again.

Add 3 ounces of heavy cream.  Mix it with the juices.  As soon as it bubbles, slip the tomatoes and the sauce into a hot dish. Serve very hot. 


If you're interested in de Pomiane, you'll also want to know about this book, Cooking with Pomiane, with its great introduction by Elizabeth David.


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  • Ruth
    I loved this article in its entirety, dare I ask why it has changed? I liked comparing the various recipes.
    I have ordered your new book, and look forward to its arrival in Australia.
    Kind regards

  • admin says:

    Hi Lucinda,
    I’m not quite sure what you mean. I did compare the many different versions of this recipe – from Julian Barnes to Elizabeth DAvid, with many others in between. But I wasn’t aware that I had posted it. Where did you find that?

  • Lucinda says:

    Hi Ruth
    I only just saw that you had responded to my comment. I think I read the post in early August, and on your website. From memory, the post had photographs of parts of a column from an old Gourmet with a recipe from Elizabeth David. And maybe even a third version of the recipe, I am not sure.
    When I returned to the post two months later (to cook the tomatoes again) I thought that it had been edited. I wondered if you had run into a copyright issue regarding the ED recipe. I agree that the tomatoes are unbelievably easy and delicious.
    I am loving My Kitchen Year, and am looking forward to lots of good cooking from it. I still miss Gourmet.
    I hope this is of assistance.
    Kind regards

  • Lucinda says:

    PS I have just worked out that I have confused two of your posts. Those of August 12 and July 8.
    Query answered…

  • Ms Terry L Harlow says:

    Ms. Reichl,

    Where might I find your Gourmet magazine editor page about the tomato?

    A subscriber, I saved it for years and think I may have misplaced it.

    I bought my first summer tomato of the season at the Tribeca greenmarket yesterday morning.

    Thanks and regards,