July 21, 2010

Scalloped Tomatoes with Croutons

I tried this recipe for the first time last night after seeing it on one of my other favorite food blogs (www.smittenkitchen.com). As you know, I have an excess of tomatoes and basil in my garden so this was the perfect recipe to try. I'm sooooo happy that I did, it is delicious! It's sort of like a bruschetta casserole. Apparently its a recipe by Ina Garten from The Food Network, but who ever it's from originally is brilliant. You must try it.

I bought Italian bread from the bakery not realizing the original recipes calls for French bread, but I don't really think it makes a difference. Remove the crusts and cut into squares about 1" in size.

Put some olive oil in a skillet and brown the bread on all sides until they are golden and crunchy. Crunch is important here.

Dice up some tomatoes...

Chop up the basil - don't skimp on the basil, try to use the full 1/2 cup even if you're not that fond of it. Tomatoes and Basil were made for each other. I even read somewhere that if you're growing these two items in your garden you should grow them next to each other because the basil improves the flavor of the tomatoes. How cool is that?

In a bowl mix the tomatoes, sugar, salt, pepper and garlic together - then add it to the browned croutons.

After cooking the mixture for about 5 minutes, turn off the heat and add the basil.

Now pour this mixture into a small shallow baking dish and top with the Parmesan cheese. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 35-40 minutes.

I added more Parmesan cheese to my portion, because in my opinion you can never have enough cheese. We had this with a simple salad and it was wonderful.

Here is the recipe from Smitten Kitchen:

Here's a recap:
3 tablespoons olive oil (reduced from original)
2 cups bread from a French boule, in a 1/2-inch dice, crusts removed (I went closer to 3 cups, after buying a loaf of very puffy Italian bread by accident)
2 1/2 pounds plum whatever good tomatoes you’ve got, cut into 1/2-inch dice
3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup thinly slivered basil leaves, lightly packed
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat your oven to 350 and begin cutting your bread into cubes. Brown the bread in some olive oil on all sides until golden brown.
Dice your tomatoes, add to this the sugar, garlic, salt, and pepper.
Once your bread is browned, add the tomato mixture and cook for about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the basil. Pour this mixture into a small shallow baking dish and top with Parmesan cheese. Bake for 35-40 minutes.

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