Thursday, August 5, 2010

scalloped tomatoes

I think it is pretty much heresy but here goes. I'm not that crazy about raw tomatoes. I love the little cherry ones - especially dipped into blue cheese dressing but the others - not so much. I like them in a greek salad this time of year, with fresh cukes, red onion, red pepper, olives and loads of feta over the crisp, peppery microgreens from the market. But I love tomatoes roasted or oven dried. So when I read this at smittenkitchen I knew I had to make it. Field tomatoes are still a rarity here - tomatoes are really slow this year thanks to the months of rain we had prior to July - so I've been making it with campari tomatoes from the market or fruit stand - 2 1/2 lbs is about 23 tomatoes....

I made it for myself one night when D was working and kept the leftovers for my lunches - I loved it that much. So I made it again, except I was out of bread so used olive bread crumbs I had lurking in my freezer, but also forgot to add the basil - so that batch was just ok. The bread and the basil really are key to this recipe - just so you know.

Last night I made it again -
2 c diced, crust removed bread (I used a loaf of somewhat stale rosemary potato bread)
3 tbsp olive oil
2 1/2 lbs diced tomatoes
2 tbsp sugar
1 heaping tsp garlic
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 c thinly sliced basil
1 c parmesan cheese, grated

Toast the bread cubes in the olive oil until golden brown. (Trickier than it looks - just keep shaking the pan until the bread is toasty and not black...) In the meantime prepare the tomatoes, and mix them with the garlic, sugar (trust me on the sugar - just do it), salt and pepper. Once the bread is brown all over (ish), dump the tomatoes into the saute pan and cook for 5 minutes. Take off the heat and add the basil. Then pour the mixture (it should be thickish now) into a baking pan (I've used 7x10 and 8x11 pans and both work), sprinkle the parmesan over the top and pop into a 350 deg F oven for 35 minutes or until the cheese is toasty and the edges of the casserole are bubbly.

Dig in - careful, it's hot. It's magic - the tomatoes and bread and basil and cheese and garlic all melded together into deliciousness. We had big scoops last night with spicy corn pancakes

 - yum.

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