Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Scalloped Tomatoes

Right now is - by far - my favorite time of year to shop for food and eat. I get giddy at the Farmer's Market, dreaming of the millions of ways I could combine the ingredients to make something healthy and delicious.

On Saturday, I went balls-out crazy at Midtown, buying as much as I could with the intention of preserving it all for the bleak months of December through March.

Out of this gluttonous bounty, I got: eight quarts of roasted tomato and red pepper pasta sauce, two quarts of roasted tomato and red pepper soup, two vacuum sealed bags of roasted beets, one vacuum sealed bag of roasted butternut squash, four large vacuum sealed bags of fresh sweet corn kernels, three pints of crockpot applesauce, over one dozen zucchini oat bran muffins, and some steamed green beans I've been eating on that lettuce all week.

Yes, my deep freeze is filling up nicely! And even after all of that, I still had a bunch of tomatoes left for dinner tonight.

This recipe for scalloped tomatoes has literally been on my blog to-do list since the first year I started blogging. I put it off and shame on me for doing so because OH MY GOD do I ever love this recipe. I love, love, love it.

If you like tomatoes, you will love it too - it's like fresh summer tomatoes on steroids, all pumped up and juicy. It's so easy and freaking delicious you must make it RIGHT NOW, or if now is not a good time, AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

I honestly could eat the entire pan of these scalloped tomatoes (which is the same as tomato gratin, just another fancy name that means topped with cheese and baked). But I was able to refrain from gobbling it all, if only so I could bring it to work and show it off at lunch tomorrow. The taste reminded me of all the best things about a fabulous lasagna or pasta dish, without all that grody pasta (full disclosure: I don't really like pasta). This would be awesome with a poached egg and something green.

I am not kidding. Make this. Before the tomato season ends (i.e. NOW!). You won't be sorry.

Scalloped Tomatoes, adapted from Ina Garten
Serves 2 as a main dish, 4 as a side

2 cups day old bread cubes
1/2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
6 large tomatoes, cored and diced
1 large clove of garlic, grated on a microplane or mashed into a paste
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large skillet, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil or butter. Toss in bread cubes and stir over medium heat until golden brown and toasty. Remove from heat and sprinkle with dried herbs and a pinch of salt.

In a medium bowl, toss together your tomatoes, garlic, vinegar, salt, and basil.

In an oven safe baking dish, put your bread cubes on the bottom. Top with tomato mixture. Sprinkle grated cheese on top and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 35 minutes or until top is golden brown. Serve immediately.

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