2000s Recipes + Menus

Baked Tomatoes with Crusty Bread

Serves8 (side dish)
  • Active Time:20 min
  • Start to Finish:1 hr
January 2008
The brown sugar in the ingredients list below is there to mellow the acidity of the tomatoes, not to make this a sweet dish. Use a sturdy bakery loaf of white sandwich bread, not the packaged sliced stuff, for the topping. You will get enormous pleasure from serving people this dish.
  • 3 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes in juice
  • 3/4 stick unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar, or to taste
  • 8 (1/4-inch-thick) slices good-quality white sandwich bread such as pullman loaf
  • Preheat oven to 425°F with rack in middle. Butter a 3-quart baking dish (about 13 by 9 by 2 inches).
  • Drain tomatoes, reserving 1 cup juice, then chop.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a 5- to 6-quart heavy pot over medium-high heat until foam subsides, then cook onions with 1/2 teaspoon salt, stirring occasionally, until golden-brown, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, allspice, and cloves and cook, stirring, 1 minute.
  • Stir in tomatoes with reserved juice, thyme, brown sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and briskly simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, melt remaining 1/2 stick butter and brush onto both sides of bread. Halve each slice.
  • Transfer tomato mixture to baking dish and top with bread, overlapping slightly. Bake until bubbling and bread is crisp and golden-brown, about 20 minutes.
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