Late Summer Bread Pudding with Roasted Tomatoes

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Right before it went into the oven – I forgot to take a picture when it came out!

Another zucchini hanging out looking cute in your kitchen, but all your stand-by zucchini recipes exhausted? Well, here’s a great dinner crowd idea that is sure to please – and it is really easy.

I have two bread puddings in my life: one is the stuffing that my aunt, Susy makes for Thanksgiving every year and the other is a sweet bread pudding that I experienced then recreated after taking our son to King’s Island in Kentucky one summer.

The sweet bread pudding is a dense, eggy spiced dish with a rich caramelized bourbon topping – very simple, but decadent and satisfying. The bread and eggs prevent me from allowing frequent visits to my kitchen – in fact, it has been years now since I’ve made it.

My aunt’s stuffing does not have eggs and it has always been my favorite dish on the Thanksgiving table. She sautées onions, garlic and celery, tosses in a few toasted walnuts and sage and mixes dry bread with a bit of vegetable stock. Seasoned with a bit of salt and pepper this concoction is pushed down into a baking dish to develop a thick crust around the edges. It is simple, and absolutely delicious!

So, with bread pudding on my mind, and an extra loaf of bread from the Smiling Pelican Bakeshop in Maiden Rock, I began the search for a new late summer recipe idea to help manage the glut of tomatoes and zucchini in the garden.

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Roasting some tomatoes to decorate the top became first priority. But, if you try this recipe, don’t use foil on the baking pan like I did! I had a piece leftover that was covering something, so I thought I’d just recycle it – I wished I had used my Silpat instead, but I still made it work. These tomatoes were sliced thick, drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with a titch of salt and impaled with a smashed piece of garlic before roasting.

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The filling that is mixed with the bread includes sautéed onions, garlic, basil, a grated zucchini and three medium tomatoes chopped. I seasoned with salt and pepper. This was mixed with cubed bread, spooned into a covered baking dish, topped with the roasted tomatoes to make it cute and baked at 400 degrees for an hour and a half. I took the lid off the baking dish after about an hour. Truly easy. Truly delicious!

This is also a great dish to make ahead and freeze for later baking! I made this two days before the meal – just threw the covered casserole into a plastic bag. The day I needed it, it went straight into the oven.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 loaf of any bread – stale or not
  • 5-6 medium tomatoes – 2 sliced, 4 diced
  • Garlic
  • Olive oil to drizzle
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 medium zucchini, grated
  • 1 handful fresh basil, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Slice fresh tomatoes, lay them out on a cookie sheet, drizzle with oil and salt. Flip them and drizzle again with oil and push into the middle of each about a third of a smashed piece of garlic. Roast until the edges begin to caramelize.

Saute diced onions in a bit of olive oil until translucent then add 3-4 minced garlic cloves. Cook for a minute or so just until the garlic becomes fragrant. Turn off the heat. Then add the diced tomatoes, grated zucchini, basil, bread cubes and salt/pepper.

Once all the ingredients are well mixed, pout it into a covered casserole baking dish, push the pudding down, top with the roasted tomatoes in a decorative fashion. Bake for one hour covered, remove the lid and bake for another 30 minutes uncovered.

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