Friday, June 20, 2008

Cherry Tomato Crisp: Subliminal Message Friday:

For now, this post marks the end of my forays into Marthaville (a.k.a. Stewartbrook, a.k.a. WASPington), as the Everyday Food cookbook was due back to the library today (last week). I gotta say (no, I MUST) that I really, really liked it. (Really.) I tried four (or five – maybe six) recipes from the tome, and all were blow-out, truly delicious winners (like the Celtics). I’m thinking of buying it myself and possibly gifting it to my sister (in lieu of her one true desire: Patrick Dempsey on a stick).

Cherry (or Grape) Tomato Crisp happened last week (Tuesday, I think) after The Boyfriend and I worked out (attempted not to die) at our newly-joined gym (a.k.a. the Torturedome). We didn’t arrive home until after 9pm (6pm PST), and this was basic enough to pull together in a few minutes (let’s say 35, for argument’s sake).

While the tomatoes came out all sweet and roasty (that’s Swahili for “wrinkled and good”), the highlights of the dish were the jazzed-up breadcrumbs (who knew?). They not only confirmed my belief that everything tastes better with parmesan (another belief: there is no better contemporary holiday song than Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas”), but convinced me to try said crumbs on other veggies (mmm … crumbs). A similar eggplant side dish (found in Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen) came out just as beautifully. (Not kidding, though the roasted capers smelled a bit like cat food.) I can’t find it online, or I’d post it here. (I swear it.)

As always, a few notes if you decide to try (and please do):

1) Roasted whole tomatoes retain heat very well (it’s true), and if you eat one before it’s cooled (dummy), it tastes not unlike crimson, tomato-y lava (ow ow ow). SO, once you pull this baby out of the oven (note: the crisp, not an actual baby), let it sit for a few minutes (5-10). Even then, pierce the first tomato before you eat it to check (with a fork, not your finger). Otherwise, burn (baby, burn)!

2) I bought two pints of grape tomatoes for this (on Long Island, which is why they’re so cheap), and ended up using about 1-1/2 pints (that’s 0.68 kilos for you metric-loving folk). You, too, should have leftovers. (Which you should eat on a stick, Patrick Dempsey-style.)

3) We don’t use white bread (because we’re COMMUNISTS), but had two slices of whole wheat lying around (in the underwear drawer). They worked just as well, though they may not look as appetizing as the white slices. (See: my terrible, terrible picture.)

And that’s it. (Put a fork in it.) I’m away in Virginia (it’s for lovers) for the next few days, so there won’t be any Comments of the Week tomorrow (boo), but join us again Monday for more culinary wonder (note: fresh veggies, probably roasted, with some kind of topping.)

In the meantime, Tutti a Tavola A Mangiare! (Literally: this is really good, so eat it. Also, happy weekend.)

Cherry Tomato Crisp
Serves 4
Adapted from Everyday Food.

1 1/2 pounds (about 5 cups) cherry (or grape) tomatoes
2 slices white sandwich bread
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 chopped garlic clove
Coarse salt and ground pepper

1) Preheat oven to 400ºF. Prep an 8x8 glass dish. (I think metal might work, too, but I haven't tried it.)

2) Add bread, Parmesan, parsley, olive oil, and garlic to a food processor. Salt and pepper to taste. Pulse until bread is reduced to big crumbs, about 4 or 5 times.

2) Place tomatoes in dish and spread them out into a single layer. Top evenly with crumb mixture. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, until crumbs are brown. Remove from oven and let cool a few minutes, because hot tomatoes will sear your tongue off.

Approximate Calories, Fat, and Price Per Serving
142 calories, 4.5 g fat, $0.85

1 1/2 pounds (about 5 cups) cherry (or grape) tomatoes: 200 calories, 0 g fat, $2.25
2 slices white sandwich bread: 133 calories, 1.6 g fat, $0.30
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese: 108 calories, 7.2 g fat, $0.56
2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves: 3 calories, 0.1 g fat, $0.13
1 tablespoon olive oil: 119 calories, 13.5 g fat, $0.10
1 chopped garlic clove: 4 calories, 0 g fat, $0.05
Coarse salt and ground pepper: negligible calories and fat, $0.02
TOTAL: 567 calories, 22.4 g fat, $3.41
PER SERVING (TOTAL/4): 142 calories, 4.5 g fat, $0.85

(Additional photo courtesy of


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