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March 22, 2009

Dry bread crumbs (Recipe: baked cherry tomatoes) {vegan}

Baked cherry tomatoes recipe

Since the age of seven or so, I've worn eyeglasses.

As a little kid, I hated them, and when I reached high school, I couldn't wait to get contact lenses. But in college, the combination of my night job and early-morning classes made it difficult to pry my eyes open and put the contacts in every morning.

So, reluctantly, I went back to glasses. I had one pair, which began to bore me after a week or so, and I shoved them on my nose every day and never gave them a second thought.

One day, my mother said to me, Glasses are just a fashion accessory. You have more than one jacket, why not more than one pair of glasses?

Aha!

Accessories -- like a colorful scarf or red Birkenstocks, Lego cufflinks or a bug bra -- dress up whatever they're with, and in cooking, that's exactly what dry bread crumbs do.

Of course, accessories have other roles to play; scarves provide warmth, cufflinks link cuffs. Bread crumbs add texture and crunch and bulk, and for delicate foods, they give protection from heat so the food won't overcook. But bread crumbs on top of mac and cheese, or a cassoulet, are there for one important reason: to dress up the dish.

Breadcrumbs2

Dry bread crumbs, made from dry or toasted bread, are easy to make, but even easier to buy; you'll find them flavored or plain, in canisters, in the Italian foods aisle of every grocery store. They have an incredibly long shelf life, but they don't last forever, so here's a tip: after you open the canister, mark the date on top. If you don't use them within six months, toss them out.

Almost any bread can be used to make bread crumbs, though better bread will make tastier crumbs. When you slice a loaf of fresh bread, save the heels and leftover slices in a bag in your freezer. When you need bread crumbs, defrost your frozen bread bits, slice into 1/2-inch slices and bake in a slow oven (200°F) until very dry. When the bread is completely cooled, process the slices in a food processor fitted with a metal blade, and grind to desired consistency.

And if you're living gluten-free, you need not be without accessories in your cooking; try this tasty bread crumb alternative.

Cherrytomatoes2

Baked cherry tomatoes

Adapted from Faith Heller Willinger's Adventures of an Italian Food Lover, this beautiful side dish takes no time to prepare, and takes advantage of the cherry tomatoes that are available in markets year-round. Our friend Greg made this when a group of friends cooked together last weekend; didn't he do a beautiful job? Serves 8.

Ingredients

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
30-36 cherry tomatoes (depending on size)
2 Tbsp dried (but not old) oregano
3 garlic cloves
1/4 cup plain dry bread crumbs
Fine sea salt
Fresh black pepper
1 Tbsp roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley, for garnish (optional)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Drizzle 1 tsp of the olive oil in the bottom of a 9-inch standard glass or ceramic pie dish. 

Cut the tomatoes in half cross-wise (not through the stem end). Chop the oregano and garlic together until the garlic is minced. Add the bread crumbs. Season with salt and pepper.

Place half of the cherry tomato halves, split side up, into the pie pan, arranging them so they remain upright. Sprinkle the tomatoes with the bread crumb mixture. Top with the remaining tomato halves, rounded side up, to look like whole tomatoes again. Drizzle the remaining olive oil over the tomatoes.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature, garnished with a bit of chopped parsley.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]


More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:

Chipotle meatloaf
Egg noodle, cheese and cauliflower gratin
Crab cakes
Spicy chicken balls
Sicilian style spaghetti

Need more creative ideas for using tomatoes all year round? Get 25 Tomatoes, my e-book packed with fantastic recipes, full-color photos and a fun video tutorial. With the FREE Kindle Reading app, delicious tomato recipes will always be just one click away on any computer, tablet or smart phone. Click here to learn more.

Comments

We still don't have nice tomatoes in the stores, yet, but we will, oh yes! And I know precisely what to do with then smaller ones hit ... thanks!

Cheers.

Beautiful baked cherries. Can't wait to (try to) replicate this dish.

I'm going to try this today.

btw, ever since you mentioned oregano the other day i cant stop adding it to everything I eat...thank you!! HAHA

Milton

You've reminded me of a fantastic Sri Lankan recipe for fish cutlets that I've been meaning to make. They're basically little fish cakes flavoured with curry leaves and a few other things (can't remember now) dippend into eggs and bread crumbs. They're absolutely divine. THE best way of using tinned tuna.

Another way of using bread crumbs is in the Vienna schnitzl. I adore it. Especially when served with warm chard with garlic and olive oil like in this recipe: http://maninas.wordpress.com/2007/09/07/dalmatian-chard-with-garlic-and-olive-oil-or-blitva-s-maslinovim-uljem-i-lukom/.

Is there anything wrong with leaving bread heels out in the open until they turn hard, then processing them until the dried consistency? That's what I've been doing and I don't notice much of a difference.

Another thing: if I leave my homemade bread heels out in the open for drying, they quickly go bad/get moldy. But my storebought bread doesn't seem to ever get moldy, which is a little scary.

In any case, this seems to work for us, although maybe I'm missing something.

Love the blog, and love the stretttttccccchhhh between eyeglasses and bread crumbs!

I LOVE adding roasted tomatoes to any vegetable or starch (well, almost any). Now I have a great way to use those cherry tomatoes that tend to "turn" quickly. Thanks!

this looks elegant and easy. thanks

I will need to forward this post to all the folks that tease me about 9 pairs of glasses!

And yes, yes yes about the bread crumbs! I especially like homemade because they're coarser and have more texture.

Lydia, I scored great tomatoes at the right price at Friendly Fruit and made these Friday night. They were delicious again... and so simple to make. Our guests savored them in small bites as if they were something new and exotic!

What's not to fall in love with this recipe & cherry tomatoes. Beautiful dish, pretty & flavourful, Lydia. Love the idea of mincing the herbs & garlic together...aaaaaaaah the flavours!

Oh, those tomatoes look fabulous! My favorite accessory, kitchen-wise, would have to be tortillas. We ALWAYS have them on hand.

Glasses...my little sister got them at around age 7 and I wanted them SO much! In high school, I started buying frames with clear lenses just to wear them. ;)

That looks absolutely delicious! will have to try! Lydia, I have a question: when should I use regular breadcrumbs (found in Italian groceries and in my cupboard) and when should I use Panko--also in my cupboard?

I'm a long term glasses wearer too, and I finally got wise to having multiple pairs too. I love my contacts--technology has improved them a lot since my college days--but sometimes the eyes just need a rest.

Thanks for the breadcrumb hints. I probably have an ancient canister in my pantry that should be tossed. And since I always have bread leftover, I'll just use your tip on making them at home.

Hope I win a book this round!

I'll try the tomatoes today! Thanks for the recipe. :)

Oh, roasting cherry tomatoes almost makes them taste like summer, what a great idea! I usually make my own bread crumbs from stale bread and keep them in the freezer, I use them in meatballs and on top of mac n cheese.

This will be a wonderful dish this summer when I (hopefully) have too many tomatoes on hand from my container garden! Gorgeous.

I've just started keeping bread odd and ends in the freezer for this very reason.

Your cherry tomatoes are so cute all lined up like toy soldiers.
Looks delicious, I can't wait for my garden ones to come in.. it'll be a little while here.
My fave way to use bread crumbs is in a puttanesca-type dryish pasta. The Italians are great at using up bread!

I love roasted tomatoes, they are so easy and great when the garden is churning out more tomatoes then we can eat. Roasted tomatoes wized up in the food processor make a fast yummy sauce.

the tomato dish looks smashing - I'll have to try it for my husband myself soon if not today. His favorite place for breadcrumbs is on top of baked mac and cheese with some butter and parmesan mixed in.

Those tomatoes look so good...holy heck, very nice.

Since I know the possession of a food processor will negatively affect my productivity in other parts of my life (aka, I'm gonna fail classes from spending too long in the kitchen!!), I've been skirting around recipes that need one.

One day I was whipping up a bowl of comfort pasta; orzo with chopped spinach, butter and parmesan, when I decided it needed some texture/adornment. Tossed a few slices of bread in the toaster and when they came out, knife chopped them as small as I could. Threw those back in a dry skillet and dried them there; with one more chop, they were perfect on the orzo bowl. Miles better than the powder from a can for this use!

This is a non-food comment. I wore glaases from the age of 7 until 35 or so. Wore contacts exclusively until 50 and in the last four years have veered mostly toward glasses, saving the contacts for when I want to feel extra special! You're so right about having a wardrobe of glasses. I'm slowly building one and I can inahbit whatever persona I want through them. A wig or two is not far behind!

Lydia,
My favorite bread crumbs (and croutons) are made from my homemade sourdough bread.

this sounds great! and everyone in my house likes tomotoes.. it's so hard to agree on vegetables!

I always make my own breadcrumbs, so easy and so cheap! Plus most of the store bought ones contain trans fat! I am loving your tomatoes, great photos!! Thanks for a fun giveaway!

Every time I slice bread I brush the crumbs into a jar I keep in the door of the freezer. It's amazing how quickly it adds up!

I've worn glasses since the age of 8. Hated the whole elementary school Four-Eyes experience. One day it also dawned on me I could own several pairs, too! Yay for accessories. And bread crumbs are the best accessory. Absolutely. These baked little babies are going on my to-cook list pronto. Perfect for this time of year when larger tomatoes still aren't exactly tempting. Great recipe, Lydia.

Oh my, the baked cherry tomatoes sound fantastic! I've seen your cookbook collection so I see why you are parting with some, but what a nice thing to do.

tomatoes look wonderful! My Mother always threw a handful of bread crumbs in mushrooms sauteed in butter, so I do too.

Found your site via a Tweet from the Gluten Free Goddess. Don't we love social networking! Can't wait to try your recipes. The Roasted Cherry Tom's look great! Would love to win a cookbook, too!

What a beautiful dish! I am so excited for cherry tomatoes to come back. Thanks for getting me so excited.

I love to make my own breadcrumbs. I feel like I am preventing waste and saving money. Great recipe, thanks.

Thanks for permission to use the packaged bread crumbs: I often feel "less than" not making my own.
Janet @ Housepeepers

I am so trying this recipe. It looks delicious.

I love adding a mix of breadcrumbs, herbs and chopped anchovies to roasted cauliflower or pasta. I'll have to try the tomatoes...

I'm ashamed to say that I've only ever used breadcrumbs for breading things like chicken tenders, never as an additional ingredient in a dish. I'll have to do some experimenting!

I've been trying to keep about 3 pairs of glasses in the rotation. I forget alot though, and end up wearing the same pair day in and day out.

baked or roasted tomatoes have such a different taste, better mind you. I just love the taste of roasted tomatoes so much. I love to serve this up with morning eggs.

My favorite way to use bread crumbs is by making fried chicken. I dip in flour, milk, bread crumbs, and last crushed corn flakes for crunch.

The picture looks good enough to eat. I can't wait to try this recipe out.

awesome site! I love your pictures!

I have made broiled tomatoes (cut in half) with basically the same ingredients, but I love the idea of cherry tomatoes with the breadcrumbs in the middle! If you do not have a food processor, another way to make your own breadcrumbs is by placing the dried/baked bread pieces in a ziplock bag and using a rolling pin to crush them. I use the purchased "Italian" breadcrumbs on chicken tenders. 25 years ago I fried them in butter (on a lower heat), but being more health-concious today, I use olive oil.

Thanks for your blog! I really love the photos of other peoplles pantries. Those are my favorites!

My favorite way to use the breadcrumbs is actually in making homemade meatballs, especially using ground chicken in place of beef or pork.

Hi Lydia ~

We like to use bread crumbs on our tuna noodle casserole. I don't make that very often, though.

I like to use bread crumbs in my meatloaf and meat balls. I use a little more than my recipes call for to help extend the meat - I usually cook for a crowd.

Your tomato dish looks wonderful. Tomatoes are my favorite food in the world and I am planting about 10 different varieties in my garden this year.

Kristianna

this turned out really well. I used 6 vine t's....its sunday and who feels like cutting 30-40 tomatoes in half? Not moi, that's for sure. Served with a nice piece of rib eye; life is good

Milton

I never use breadcrumbs -- I always use matzo meal instead.

I like using fresh herbs and making a green, herbed breadcrumb. Goes great on fish or chicken!

I must admit that until recently, I only liked tomatoes on tacos or hamburgers. Your tomatoes look really delicious. Will have to try. BTY, wish my mom would have suggested glasses as accessories. Too "frugal" I guess. Thanks for another opportunity to win one of your cookbooks.

These look delicious! I can't wait until summer when there are all kinds of yummy tomatoes everywhere. Thanks for sharing.

Love this! Can't wait to try it.

Paz

I am always looking for a new way to serve tomatoes and this recipe looks fantastic ... can't wait to try it. I love your blog Lydia!

I like to make deep-fried ravioli.

You take each cheese ravioli, dip it in egg and then in bread crumbs, and fry it in oil until golden brown. The cheese is all melted and the bread crumbs make a crispy crust. Delicious with a light tomato sauce.

My family loves toasted, buttery breadcrumbs on cauliflower cheese & on top of omelettes, too. Mmmmmmmmmm...

(Cherry tomatoes are so cheerful, I love the colour they bring to the plate!)

Oh boy, give me a loaf of crust bread and I could scoop up this pan of roasted tomatoes in no time flat. They look amazing!

This dish looks wonderful, bright and fresh even in the winter time. I can't wait to try it, thanks.

Thanks for the recipe. Hopefully I will have an abundance of cherry tomatoes this summer and I can try this.

And to Panya who posted above me at 6:36--thanks for the matzo meal tip!

If I can still those those long overdue cherry tomatoes in my fridge. I'm gonna make this!

I would love to win a cookbook! Thank you for the opportunity! I have to say I love your blog, I struggle with the Perfect Pantry myself.

My mum did a version of this with sliced tomatoes and onions layered together, topped with breadcrumbs. You'd think that after all this time I might have got it right, but nothing approaches the flavour in my memory.

Alas, I use fresh bread crumbs for my meatballs, they would be naked with out them. Panko bread crumbs for delicate stuff fish mostly and there are always the regular bread crumbs that I use as topings - Mac and cheese and now of course baked cherry tomatoes actually I do a version of this but use the Cuban Thyme I told you about.

mmmm. i do love tomatoes in all their forms.

i'll be a weirdo and say that my favorite kitchen accessory right now is my big wire shelf. it's completely wonderful to have more shelf space.

AND I just got a huge (I mean huge) industrial mixer whip that I'm going to turn into a light fixture. It's going to be great.

Would a crock pot count as a kitchen accessory? I use mine as much as I can :-)

Fried green tomatoes and fried zucchini is my favorite use of breadcrumbs. The trick is to use really good breadcrumbs - not overly coat them; fry low and slow in small batches! The perfect summer sunday morning breakfast! And only when you have just picked the veggies from the garden.
oh how I crave homegrown veggies!!!

Fried Red tomatoes also delicious!!!

Fresh breadcrumbs are a wonderful ingredient, Lydia - and mixed with herbs and parmesan it gets irresistible!

One of my favorite things is Ritz cracker crumbs on buttered, wide egg noodles with lots of black pepper. Not quite bread crumbs, but I'm sure you could do it with buttered bread crumbs. We have a Bavarian restaurant nearby that serves noodles similar to this.

I don't know, I might be wrong but so many people posted a comment on the blog... :)
So I wonder is it the BAKED CHERRY TOMATOES recipe a great one or your free giveaway of five cookbooks is a big hit :)
I think both!
Congratulation on making this blog a success!

Love your blog so I'm sure I'd love a cookbook from your stash!

I love to use bread crumbs mixed with a bit 'o butter on top of baked mac 'n cheese to give it a nice bit of crust.

you always come up with such wonderful and tasty ideas
thank you very much
mark szocik

Lydia, great shot...I want to dive into those tomatoes.

Those tomatoes look so good.

I like to toast breadcrumbs with a little bit of sugar and sprinkle it over pasta.

The roasted tomatoes look wonderful. I like to use bread crumbs as toppings for casserole type dishes. Love to use flavoured or cheese cheese breads to make the crumbs. Adds alot more texture, depth and flavour to a recipe.

i was wondering what to do with those i have a box lying around thanks for the recipe and the giveaway

I love sauteed asparagus topped with a mix of grated romano cheese, toasted bread crumbs and sauteed garlic slivers.

I use Italian seasoned breadcrumbs in making a yummy meatball recipe. Thanks for the giveaway

I have sooooo many tomatoes from the garden at the end of summer, I LOVE the way those tomatoes look in the picture. Thanks for the chance to win!

This looks outstanding. I've done something similar but not with the breadcrumbs - will have to try this version!

I can't wait to try this recipe. I'm always looking for new vegetable recipes. I use breadcrumbs in salmon patties. I don't know why, but my kids love them and we make them at least once a week. Thanks for sharing lots of great recipes.

My favorite kitchen "accessory"is a garlic "puree-er". It's a little plate with sharp raised grooves-you rub a garlic clove back and forth on the grooves and it kind of like purees the garlic. Best thing ever when you need to use garlic.

I use bread crumbs in my meatballs and in my meatloaf. My favorite kitchen tool is my rubber spatulas.

ahhh, those baked cherry tomatoes look amazing. i have honestly never cooked with bread crumbs ever in my life although i do a lot of cooking! they are one of those things that kind of scare me... i always feel like i'm going to mess something up!

I love making stuffed tomatoes. Great giveaway!!

the tomatoes look excellent! :) delicious!

I love tomatoes & basil and the addition of some garlic buttered bread crumbs.... oh yum!

I have the sassiest new red & black apron. It's my newest and "favoritest" kitchen accessory right now. For party nights. Serious cooking needs a full-frontal apron cuz I'm a sloppy cook.

Woohoo! I love roasting tomoatoes. Even the ones we get here in the winter, all green and tough. Roast them up and they aren't so bad for adding to dishes like lamb biryani or vegetable rice pilaf.

I do not use a lot of bread crumbs but BOY do I love Cook Books!!! You sure are generous and I know that this is NOT the first time you have shared some of your cook book collection!!!
I mostly use Bread Crumbs for Chicken Cutlets for the Hubby!
Leslie

Lydia,
Oooh, my mouth is drooling over your cherry tomatoes! Come on Springtime, hurry, hurry!
Enter me in your drawing please.
I like to use my leftover sourdough garlic breads to make homemade croutons and breadcrumbs which I sprinkle generously over some MacnCheese.

I've never thought of bread crumbs that way - I always thought they were there for the crunch. But this makes sense now that you mention it.

These baked cherry tomatoes look fantastic! The French do something similar - halve regulare tomatoes, place in a frying pan, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with crushed garlic and breadcrumbs and fry lightly then cover and finish cooking. Hubby taught me this, though I must admit yours look so much more mouthwatering and beautiful!

Interesting idea to cut small tomatoes in half and use the bread crumb mixture as a filling rather than a topping.

Silly as it may sound, I like my Foreman Grill. I like steaks grilled, but it's too cold to fire it up outside during winter, so I pop them on the Foreman for a great meal!

Bread crumbs are the best on macaroni and cheese. Especially mixed with some shredded Parmesan. I've really gotten in to Panko as well recently.

I come from an Italian family (or at least half-Italian, my Dad would have said that's the only half that counts!), so having dry bread crumbs around for cooking meatballs & such is a must. My favorite bread crumb dish is called Popat, and I've never heard of anyone else besides my family who makes it. They're sort of a fritter made from bread cumbs, parmesan cheese, and some seasonings, then fried in oil, and further cooked in tomato sauce and served with pasta. They are amazing!

Can't wait for great tomatoes to be in season here, I'd love to try roasting them!

I find panko bread crumbs are the best for the ultimate in crunchy bread toppings

If you make breadcrumbs out of fresh bread, they'll be more airy and take up more volume. Therefore, less calories per cup.

We like bread crumbs on baked mac n cheese.

I made bread crumbs most recently for Crunchy Baked Pork Chops and I am now a convert and will NEVER resort to the yucky, store bought variety again. I have just enough left over to dress your friend's baked tomatoes. Thanks Lydia!

One of my goals this year is to use less commercially processed foods. Making my own bread crumbs gives complete control over what's in them.

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  • My name is Lydia Walshin. From my log house kitchen in rural northwest Rhode Island, I share recipes that use what we keep in our pantries, the usual and not-so-usual ingredients that spice up our lives.

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