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Seared Tomatoes with Bread Topping

At least once a month we plan to cook from some of our favorite cookbooks and share these recipes with you. I have quite a collection and those by Jacques Pepin’s are right there at the top of my list. He is one of my favorite cookbook authors as well as TV show host. I enjoy watching him on PBS. He makes cooking look so easy and all of his recipes are healthy as well as delicious.

Today I had some great looking tomatoes that needed to be used. In my search for a recipe, I came upon Jacques Pepin’s Simple and Healthy Cooking and selected Seared Tomatoes with Bread Topping. Chef Pepin serves this dish warm, however, I ended up serving mine at room temperature and enjoyed it served this way as well.

I substituted a few ingredients in the recipe. Nothing that changed the taste but I wanted to use what I had on hand. I had Roma and small vine tomatoes. Since they were smaller than the medium tomato called for in the recipe I sliced the top off rather than halved them. I also used dried thyme (didn’t have fresh) and added some fresh parsley for a little more green. Be careful of what you add to the recipe because if your crumb ingredients are too moist your crumbs will become gooey and won’t work.

Seared Tomatoes with Bread Topping

This is a great dish for the company since it can be made ahead of time. It’s best with ripe, flavorful tomatoes. If you prepare them ahead of time, halve the tomatoes, sear them and sprinkle them with the seasoned bread crumbs up to an hour before. Finish them under a hot broiler just before serving. Yield: 6 servings

  • 6 medium tomatoes (2½ pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon plus ½ teaspoon virgin olive oil
  • 2 slices bread
  • 3 scallions (about 2 ounces), washed, trimmed and chopped (1/3 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled, crushed and finely chopped (1 teaspoon)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Cut the tomatoes in half crosswise. Brush a very large nonstick skillet with 1/2 teaspoon of the oil and place it over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the tomato halves, cut side down, and sear for 5 minutes or until they are browned. Transfer the tomatoes to a large gratin dish, placing them seared side up and side by side in the dish.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Add the bread to the bowl of food processor and process it until crumbed. Add the scallions, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper and pulse until the mixture is combined. Transfer the crumb mixture to a small bowl and toss it lightly with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. (Do not over mix or it will become gooey.) Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture on top of the tomatoes, don’t pack the breadcrumbs down. Bake in the center of the oven for 10 minutes. Turn on the broiler, move the dish to the top shelf of the oven and broil for a few minutes, watching closely, until the crumbs are brown.

Per serving: 90 calories, 3.6 g fat (33% of calories), 0.5 g. saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 238 mg. sodium. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did…..

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