I don’t know about the rest of you, but my side dishes bore me. I seem to make the same ones over and over and over. I see wonderful recipes for sides and veggies, cut them out and never quite get there. I had seen Ina make this dish, printed it, and added it to the ever growing pile of sides-I-will-never-try. I was tickled that one of the choices for this month’s Barefoot Bloggers was Ina’s Scalloped Tomatoes. It took care of so many self-inflicted obligations – one thing out of my pile of things to try, a new summery type side dish, and Barefoot Bloggers. Getting so many things out of one recipe can’t possibly be bad!
- 5 T extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups (1/2-inch diced) bread from a French boule, crusts removed
- 16 plum tomatoes, cut into a 1/2-inch dice (about 2 1/2 pounds)
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
- 2 T sugar
- 2 t kosher salt
- 1 t freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup julienned basil leaves, lightly packed
- 1 cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
NOTE: The recipe calls for good olive oil. I can not stand this about Ina’s recipes. You need 5 tablespoons of olive oil all together. Can’t she just SAY THAT! For those of you who were going to use BAD olive oil, please refrain, at least for this recipe!
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large (12 inch) saute pan over medium heat. Add the bread cubes and stir to coat with the oil. Cook over medium to medium-high heat for 5 minutes, stirring often, until the cubes are evenly browned.
NOTE: I don’t think the boule I used was dense enough. You really need a dense loaf.
Meanwhile, combine the tomatoes, garlic, sugar, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. When the bread cubes are done, add the tomato mixture and continue to cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the basil.
NOTE: I combined the tomato mixture first. I didn’t want to take too much attention away from the bread and figured it would take more than 5 minutes to put the tomato mixture together.
Pour the tomato mixture into a shallow (6 to 8 cup) baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with the Parmesan cheese and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the top is browned and the tomatoes are bubbly. Serve hot or warm.
NOTES: This dish is really terrific. I think the bread cubes need to be a bit bigger, and definitely need to be toasted more than what I did. They need to be really firm and toasted enough to not turn to MUSH against the tomatoes. I also think that next time I may remove some of the pulp and seeds from the tomatoes. The amount of liquid made the bread a little too mushy for my liking. And, lastly, I’m not sure that the tomatoes and bread need to cook together in the pan for 5 minutes before going into the oven. Next time, I am going to just mix them quickly and then into the oven.