This section is from the book "The Steward's Handbook And Guide To Party Catering", by Jessup Whitehead. Also available from Amazon: Larousse Gastronomique.
These brilliantly colored fruits are most wholesome and delicious to those who have once acquired the taste for them. To our mind there is no more delightful salad at this time of year than a couple of well ripened tomatoes sliced, sparingly flavored with shredded onion, seasoned with pepper and salt, and liberally sauced with Provence oil and white wine-vinegar (two parts of oil to one of vinegar).
"There are two modes of adapting the use of the tomato to man - the hot and the cold. For the latter the Spaniard is supreme; but the Provencale alone knows how to dress it hot. The people of Bordeaux (where all the women are born cooks) imagine they can supply you with a dish of stuffed tomatoes. It is a mistake. Firstly, their soft, often hazy, south-western climate does not furnish the fruit; secondly, they have not the oil; and, thirdly, they have not the 'trick' of it. No! there are a few things for which you must go to Provence (of which Messer Francesco Petrarca - a rare gourmet in his day - was well aware.) You must go to Aix for its oil, to Barbantane for its asparagus, to Cavaillon for its aubergines and its melons - those Sir John Falstaffs of the kitchen garden; to the Fontaine de Vaucluse for its eels and its fat becquejtgues; but to Avignon for its iomates farcies. This dish is the business of a day. First take a shallow copper totirtiere and see how many tomatoes of equal size will fit into it, very closely together. Next take out each tomato, cut off one-third of the upper part, and put it (face downwards) into a plate upon a pinch of strewn salt. Leave the fruit for about three hours, until all the acid juice shall have exuded.
This prevents the stupid complaint of ignoramuses, that 'tomatoes are unwholesome, and they are afraid of them.' When all the 'vice'has been taken out of them, range your 'apples' in the tourtiere, with a teaspoonful of oil at the bottom to keep them moist, and then delicately apply to each one a light covering of the forcemeat described below, introducing the wee-est portion of it into the orifices of the cut fruit. When this is complete, set it on a charcoal-fire covered over with ashes, and let it stew gently till it is ready to serve. The time usually required is two hours or two hours and a half. The 'stuffing' consists of yolk and white of eggs boiled hard, of tarragon and chervil, of breadcrumbs (sifted), of an onion or two (cooked), of a spice of garlic; the whole well chopped and mixed together (not till it is a paste), and at last having some grated Gruyere cheese (de premiere gualite) added on to it. All this 'stuffing'must be so delicately spread over the tomatoes that it forms a manner of light crust; and previously to being carried to table it must be cunningly 'browned' by a very skilful hand.
The whole time of its stewing it has to be unremittingly watched, for if it gets dry, oil must be gently dropped in, and if a danger of wet shows itself, it must be obviated by a pinch of the finely-grated cheese. It is a plat calling forth every quality of a first-rate cook; but when it succeeds, it amply justifies the high reputation of the Provencal chefs".