Although a tomato sandwich smeared with lemony mayonnaise is one of the simpler pleasures made with vine-ripened tomatoes, I also enjoy this tomato bread pudding—ideal to serve with grilled steaks or baked redfish for a laid-back supper on the patio. — Marcelle Bienvenu
Tomato Bread Pudding
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- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 large tomatoes, cut into wedges
- 2 teaspoons salt, divided
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
- 8 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 10 cups cubed French or Italian bread
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 8 large eggs
- 1 cup shredded fontina cheese
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
- Preheat oven to 400°. Coat a 3-quart shallow baking dish with butter. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, toss tomato with 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Arrange tomato in one layer on prepared baking sheet; roast until lightly browned, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool.
- Toss cubed bread with remaining 6 tablespoons olive oil. Spread evenly on a baking sheet, and bake until golden brown. Let cool.
- Reduce oven temperature to 350°. In a large bowl, whisk together milk, cream, and eggs. Season with remaining 1 teaspoon salt and remaining ½ teaspoon pepper. Stir in cheeses, basil, and oregano.
- Transfer bread to prepared baking dish, and pour egg mixture over bread. Add tomatoes, pushing them down into bread and custard. Bake until firm to the touch and bread is golden brown, 50 to 60 minutes. Serve warm.
- Go ahead and experiment with the flavors in this bread pudding. Fresh herbs (dill or lemon thyme) are always good additions. Marcelle’s husband sometimes adds 1 cup diced tasso ham and substitutes smoked Gouda for the fontina cheese.
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