There are never too many tomatoes, are there? Still, we sure have a lot of them. To make them easier to deal with and before they go bad, I often just trim and toss all kinds of tomato varieties into a pot and let them cook down some. That gives me workable “raw material” and helps me not to waste the precious beauties. It briefly puts the bounty on hold until I figure out what I want to cook.
Salsa, sauce and soup are obvious avenues for these cooked tomatoes, but this weekend, I made basil-tomato quick bread instead. The crunchy, savory tomato bread slices are a sunny orange-red, flecked with bits of green basil and red tomato. Like any quick bread, it comes together easily and makes a wonderful, hot-weather meal with cheese and salad.
You can vary the herbs (try rosemary, thyme, marjoram, oregano, chives or lovage) in the basil-tomato quick bread recipe and throw in about ¼ cup finely chopped sundried tomatoes or chopped olives too. Substitute up to ¾ cup whole-wheat flour if you’re going for a coarser texture. If you’re in a pinch or out of high tomato season, V-8 or tomato juice will work in the tomato bread recipe as well.
Basil-Tomato Quick Bread
- 1 ¾ cup Flour
- ¼ cup cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup cooked fresh tomatoes or canned diced tomatoes, including plenty of juice
- 1 cup ricotta cheese (low fat is OK)
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pepper in a large bowl.
Beat together the tomatoes, ricotta, eggs, oil and herbs. Add this mixture to the flour mixture, stirring just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan.
Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until golden or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack, then remove from the pan.
Yield: 1 loaf