In September in London we have fresh, crispy mornings, and very sunny, still hot days, but ending in chilly evenings when we need to reach for a cashmere shawl to warm up.
I still think “summer” when I see the local tomatoes, and I am already in fall when I buy potatoes. We can still wear sleeveless dresses and eat light summer lunches, but on a cold evening we start to crave for heavier comfort food and baked desserts instead of frozen ones. A glass of chilled white wine tempts us at lunch, but in the evening we would like to open a bottle of red. It means that the change of seasons has unavoidably come.
Last night, I made a dish that stands exactly at the crossing of the seasons–potatoes baked with tomatoes, Provençal style. It is an easy country dish. It can be entirely vegetarian, but it can be enriched with bacon, or better yet, with an Italian-style pancetta. If you are a fish lover, you can make it with anchovies. I made it in the simplest of ways (just vegetables) and my whole family enjoyed it very much.
Potatoes Baked with Tomatoes
2 pounds of white potatoes,
6 tomatoes ripe but not too soft,
3 cloves of garlic,
1/2 cup of flat-leaf parsley and 1/4 cup of fresh oregano,
1 cup of vegetable stock,
3 tbsp of butter,
3 tbsp of olive oil.
1. Preheat oven to 375F.
2. Peel off the potatoes and cut them into thin slices.
3. Cut tomatoes into slices.
4. Pour the oil on the bottom of an oven-proof dish.
5. Arrange slices of potatoes and tomatoes (see the picture above); it can take two layers to use all the vegetables.
6. Scatter the slices of butter on top; you can use less butter if you add bacon or anchovies.
7. Salt and pepper generously.
8. Pour the stock on top and finish with parsley or oregano, or both.
9. Bake first covered with foil, for about 30-40 min, later uncovered, for about 20 minutes, until the potatoes turn gold.
Serve warm with green salad and a glass of red wine, to warm up the evening.