Baked Grape Tomatoes with Basil and Gluten-Free Cornbread Crumbs

Baked Tomatoes with Cornbread Crumbs. Yes, in Winter.

Bi-Seasonal Flirtations


I'm all for eating local (if it's organic- I can't see the point of chowing down on pesticides for the virtue of having traveled only sixty forty twenty miles to my plate). I'm also prone to eat in tune with the seasons. I sashay right by strawberries in February- with nary a twinge of envy. I ignore tomatoes in January with a disdain worthy of a cane-wagging Dowager Countess.

With one glaring exception.

Those flirtatious little baskets of grape tomatoes- and those shameless, curvy cherry tomatoes. So plump and sweet and brazen. So... come hither. The rosy taste of summer itself.

Beckoning.

And although my winter cravings tingle toward a melting, bubbling, butter soft gluten-free lasagna hot from the oven, I admit without shame I miss the bright, acidic burst of Venus' favorite fruit. And I succumb. I cave like a saddle-shoed Catholic school girl offered a menthol in the girl's room. Without a blink of embarrassment. Because I have a plan, thanks to food blogger Lydia at The Perfect Pantry.

A plan to coax these devilish beauties from their summer vacay glory into the guise of winter comfort food.

I gather them and cradle them in olive oil and toasted gluten-free cornbread crumbs.

I bake them.




baked tomatoes and cornbread crumbs
A taste of summer, hot from the oven.

As soon as I saw the recipe for Baked Cherry Tomatoes over at The Perfect Pantry I knew I would love it. Tiny tomatoes, fresh garlic, Italian herbs, olive oil, breadcrumbs. What's not to love? It's Mediterranean cooking at it's simplest and most sublime.

I've tweaked the recipe to make it gluten-free, of course. There's not a speck of gluten in my version. But you'd never guess. Which makes this easy-to-create side dish an instant top ten favorite for pot lucks and picnics and any number of anxiety inducing gatherings we gluten-free goddesses fret about.

Serve this heavenly dish without a whisker of apology. Don't even bother mentioning its gluten-free and vegan status. These Italian baked tomatoes are so tasty you'll be asked for the recipe. By gluten eaters. By carnivores. I promise.

In place of plain bread crumbs (a definite no-no for gluten-free folks) I used a wedge of my Yeasted Quinoa Cornbread to make tender golden crumbs that taste like polenta. For the tomatoes I used both yellow and red organic grape tomatoes (to me they're slightly sweeter than cherry tomatoes; but use what you can get in your part of the world; both are delicious baked). And for the oregano I used basil.

Just because.




baked grape tomatoes and gluten free conrnbread crumbs
Baked grape tomatoes with cornbread crumbs are a fab side dish.


Baked Grape Tomatoes Recipe with Basil and Cornbread Crumbs

Recipe posted March 2009.

Cherry, pear and grape tomatoes are tasty year round. A big plus for those of us longing for the juicy robust tomatoes of summer. Consider this a sneak preview of some fabulous summer eating.

Ingredients:

3 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
30-40 yellow and red grape or cherry tomatoes (depending on size)
1 cup gluten-free cornbread (or GF corn muffin) crumbs
2 teaspoons dried organic basil
Fine sea salt
Fresh black pepper
Fresh basil chiffonade and leaves, for garnish

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 400ºF.

Slice a garlic clove in half and rub the cut sides on the bottom of a 9-inch glass pie plate. Drizzle a little olive oil in the bottom.

Cut the tomatoes in half. I sliced the tomatoes both ways- lengthwise and widthwise- for variation.

In a food processor, process all the garlic till minced. Dump out onto a plate. Process the cornbread (or corn muffin) until you achieve an even crumb. Add in the dried basil, sea salt. Pulse to combine. Add in the minced garlic. Pulse. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the olive oil into the crumbs and pulse briefly to distribute.

Place half of the grape tomato halves into the pie plate, split side up. Snuggle them in.

Sprinkle with the seasoned cornbread crumbs. Top with the remaining tomato halves, cut sides down, rounded side up. Drizzle a little more olive oil over the tomatoes.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, until tender.

These beauties can be served hot from the oven, warm, or at room temperature. Garnish with fresh basil chiffonade. (Chiffonade is a fancy word for rolling up several basil leaves like a cigar and slicing crosswise.)

Serves 4.

Recipe Source: glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com

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Notes:


We served these fabulous tomatoes with spring salad greens in vinaigrette on top of split baked potatoes drizzled with extra virgin olive, and sprinkled with sea salt and ground pepper. An easy and fabulous vegan supper.

These would also be amazing on a bed of simple pasta tossed in good olive oil- or better yet, this yummy basil pesto.