August 31, 2010
I recommend you make this while the tomatoes are still good.
Labor Day brings with it all kinds of cultural restrictions and bounds: no more white, no more linen, no more talk of summer. Corn loses its sweetness and the Farmers Market offerings begin to change.
Of course, if you live down South like I do, the idea that summer will end on Monday seems laughable, what with the 100 degree temperatures and all. Still, I know tomatoes won’t last forever and the weather will turn cold eventually, bringing with it corduroys and long-sleeved shirts and excuses for making chili and baked goods with cinnamon and apples. And chicken and dumplings, and…yeah. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out, summer!
TOMATO BREAD PUDDING
adapted from Gourmet
It’s obscenely good. That’s all that needs to be said.
3 lb. plum tomatoes, such as Roma, halved
1 whole head garlic
2 tsp. herbes de Provence
pan: one or two foil-lined baking sheets
Toss the tomatoes with herbs de Provence, a few tablespoons of olive oil, and a bit of salt & pepper. Arrange the tomatoes, cut sides up, on baking sheet(s). Take the whole head of garlic and cut off the pointy tops, exposing all the cloves. Wrap the garlic in foil & place on baking sheet with the tomatoes.
Roast it all for 45-50 minutes until the garlic is soft & tomatoes are wilted but still juicy. Once the garlic has cooled, remove the cloves from their skins and mince it finely. Alternately, puree the garlic in a blender or food processor.
10 cups cubed (1-inch) Italian bread*
2 cups grated Fontina
2 cups whole milk
1 ½ cups heavy cream
½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
While the tomatoes & garlic are roasting, toss the bread crumbs in a bit more olive oil and spread them on another baking sheet. Toast for 20-25 minutes and cool on a rack while the tomatoes & garlic finish.
Butter a 13 x 9 shallow baking dish. Arrange the bread cubes, nestling in the roasted tomatoes.
In a bowl or large liquid measure, whisk together the eggs, milk, & cream. Add the garlic and stir in the cheeses. Pour the mixture over the bread and tomatoes. Bake until golden brown and firm, about an hour. Slice and serve with a green salad.
*I used about ¾ of a large loaf