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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

This looks nice.
Thanks for the giveaway!

I love tomatoes. I plan on growing several kinds in a raised bed this spring.

Just found your blog, and what a timely post as my husband readies the garden for his cherry tomato plants!

Thanks for the awesome recipes!

Thank you! I now knwo what I am going to make for dinner...woohoo!

I'll have to bookmark this for later. I actually have a volunteer that year after years lives through the Tucson frosts of winter to make spring/summer tomatoes, I usually have them in salad. Maybe I'll have enough to give this a try.

I can't wait to try these roasted tomatoes this summer when our tomatoes come in.

My husband, who is the resident hamburger maker, loves to add a liberal amount of breadcrumbs in his mixture.

Me, I love bread crumbs in stuffed mushrooms :)

kitchen accessory- the winner by far is my artisan kitchenaid mixer. I got one as a Christmas gift from my husband, and baking has never been the same since! My mother has one she makes huge batches of cookies with. I also make chocolate chip cookies with mine for all my co-workers can enjoy. Unlike my Mom, who instead of keeps them all at home to eat by the TV with my Dad.

Love cookbooks! I grow so much of my own vegetables and love to find new ways to use them.

So beautiful and drolling pictures.

My fav bread crumbs are panko! nd my fav way to use em is right here :)

http://blogsfromahomesickaussie.blogspot.com/2009/02/panko-crispy-chicken.html#links

These tomatoes look amazing. It's 7:30 AM and all I want to eat is tomatoes. Go figure. Well, for cookbook giveaway, my favorite kitchen accessory? Has to be my immersion blender. A refurbished Cuisinart I bought off of Amazon.com, and it's one of the big lifesavers in the kitchen. The big, space-hogging blender was put on the shelf, poor blender! But that immersion blender is so easy, fast...amazing!

This recipe looks wonderful. I like how you put the tomatoes back together again when it's time to bake them. I can't wait to make this.

Those baked cherry tomatoes look SO GOOD!

Love cookbooks! Experimenting with food and reviewing cookbooks is tons of fun.

My favorite kitchen accessory is my George Foreman grill. Love love love it.

Favorite fashion accessory? SCARVES!

These look amazing. I can't wait to try them.

I love tomatoes! I can't wait to try this recipe!

Never thought to do this with cherry tomatoes, now I have something new to try. Great idea!

love your blog and check it daily

My new favorite thing is to buy "flavored breads" baked with ingredients like asiago, rosemary, or kalamata olives, and make the leftovers into crumbs. They make a delicious addition! I also like to use roasted tomatoes as a zesty soup base, YUM!

That's an excellent way to use breadcrumbs. They go so well together with tomatoes too! I usually make my own, fresh, to coat chicken or fish to pan fry. A favorite around here.

My fave kitchen accessory is a mini-food processor that my daughter gave me for Christmas one year. She was a fledgling with a tight budget and bought it at the dollar store. It's been my handiest appliance for dicing onions or whizzing up breadcrumbs.

oh please, random internet, pick me to win a cookbook!

Hi, im not not finding my comment here, so im posting it again, hopefully not twice!

my favorite kitchen helper i think is a blender, there are so many options for that.

My favourite way of using fresh breadcrumbs has to do with roasted tomatoes; http://tinyurl.com/djn56c

A vegetarian side dish, oven roasted tomatoes stuffed with breadcrumbs, lots of fresh herbs, garlic, capers, olive oil... I've had guests believe it was ground beef haha!

I adore tomatoes especially with zucchini.
Thanks for the chance to win a cookbook, how lovely.

I have never thought of breadcrumbs that way. Good Point! :)

What simple, delicious flavors! I'll have to add this to my rotation :-)

your cookbook giveaway idea is generous and brilliant. i've tried nutritional yeast flakes in lieu of breadcrumbs. the one grown on sugar beet (not the one using barley) is a good gluten-free alternative.

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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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