Who needs potatoes? Hmm… For the record, I did NOT just say that with a straight face. Me. I need potatoes. They are an essential part of my life. They complete me. But today, I am turning those heavy, cream-based scalloped potatoes that we all know and love into something a little lighter and healthier by using fresh, ripe plum tomatoes. It is summer, after all. It is hot. My skin is dewy, not because of my moisturizing routine, but rather because of the humidity combined with my inability to step outside without breaking into a sweat. My point is that heavy dishes like scalloped potatoes are the absolute last thing that I want to eat this time of year.
Now, the idea of baked tomatoes with no cream sounds kind of boring. But that’s why garlic was invented. Garlic is a very good thing. What would these Garlicky Scalloped Tomatoes be without it? I mash lots and lots of garlic cloves until they form something of a paste. That, with plenty of fresh summer tomatoes, warm toasted bread cubes, and fragrant basil creates an incredibly flavorful side dish. These tomatoes are baked with a generous layer of grated Parmesan cheese, which forms a salty golden brown crust on top.
- 8 garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups cubed French bread
- 5½ pounds plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup julienned basil leaves
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the garlic cloves on a cutting board and mash the garlic with the side of the knife until it forms a smooth paste.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the bread cubes and cook for about 5 minutes, tossing often, until the bread is golden brown.
- Meanwhile, stir together the tomatoes, sugar, salt, pepper, and garlic paste in a large bowl to combine. Add the tomato mixture into the skillet and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes, until the tomatoes begin to break down. Remove from the heat and stir in the basil.
- Pour the tomato mixture into a large shallow baking dish (I used a large oval baker but a 9×13 dish should work as well) and sprinkle the cheese evenly over the top. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the cheese is melted and golden brown and the tomatoes are bubbling.