Edna Lewis' food to me was the essence of soul and comfort, and this simple Sunday supper of Baked Tomatoes with Crusty Bread reflects her elegant, simple aesthetic perfectly. I guarantee when you serve this dish to friends and loved ones there will be nary a crust left. Though Edna envisioned it as a side dish, it can also feed four hungry folks as a main course accompanied by a substantial salad. Or serve it as a side dish with roast pork.

Baked Tomatoes with Crusty Bread

- makes 8 servings (side dish) -

Active time: 20 minutes

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Sunday Supper: Baked Tomatoes with Crusty Bread

About This Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 (28-oz) 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 a pullman loaf

Procedures

  1. 1

    Preheat oven to 425°F with rack in middle. Butter a 3-quart baking dish (about 13 by 9 by 2 inches),

  2. 2

    Drain tomatoes, reserving 1 cup juice, then chop.

  3. 3

    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.

  4. 4

    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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