Thursday, September 16, 2010


Whole Plum Tomatoes with our Basil
After canning over 50 pounds of tomatoes over the weekend, I wasn't sure that we would be able to look at a tomato, let alone whip up a tomato recipe.  But, no surprise, we dove right into this absolutely lush, fabulous recipe.  The concept is to use heirloom tomatoes if you can get them and/or have grown them, but good meaty tomatoes will work - no matter what their pedigree.  This is also a great recipe for using your herb garden.  As the weather cools up, this will be the tomato recipe you turn to - I guarantee it!

Tomato Bread Pudding

1 pound of hearty white bread
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
2 cups of onion - small dice
2 tablespoons of finely diced garlic
2 pounds of tomatoes, seeded and diced (I do not peel good heirloom tomatoes for this - it's up to you)
2 teaspoons of salt
2 teaspoons of finely chopped thyme
1/2 teaspoon of finely chopped rosemary
1 tablespoon of coarsely chopped parsley (flat leaf, italian preferred)
7 large eggs
2 cups of milk (whole milk preferred - raw is always best if you can get it)
2 cups of heavy cream
1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup of grated Gruyere or imported Fontina (basically what you have on hand)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees; cut the bread into 1/2 inch cubes and spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet; toast them until golden brown - about 15 minutes.

Heat the olive oil in a saute pan; cook the onions until translucent and add the garlic and saute it until it becomes aromatic; pour the onions and garlic into a bowl with the chopped tomatoes and set it aside.

Whisk the eggs and add the milk, the cream; throw in some salt and stir.

Toss the Gruyere or whatever cheese you are using into the bread and tomato mixture.

Butter a baking pan - a large one - think lasagna pan size.

Add the bread and tomato and aromatics mixture to the large baking pan; pour the egg and milk/cream mixture over the cheese, bread and tomatoes in the baking pan; let the pan rest for awhile - stir it a couple of times until the milk/cream mixture has been absorbed.

Top the mixture with the grated parmesan  cheese.  Be generous.

Bake for 25 minutes or more in the 350 degree oven. 

If desired, flash under the broiler quickly to get the top bread cubes crispy and brown.

Remove from the oven and let the pan rest for 10 - 15 minutes.

Suggestion:  Serve with a cucumber/red onion salad in a vinigarette - it's a very rich dish, the cukes and onions make a nice foil for that richenss.

A hearty red wine rounds it out.

Savory Tomato Bread Pudding
 Lastly I couldn't resist adding this picture.  For those who only shop in what I like to call "Stupermarkets", these tomatoes will look really, really strange.  Why?  Because the tomatoes those folks are getting have been factory produced, forced into a particular size and shape - and are generally tasteless!  These two definitely make the case for the fun - and sense of humor - of the natural world!!!

Real, Delicious, and Not Perfect!

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