Recently Rick and I were talking about a “betty,” the dessert with crunchy sweetened bread crumbs on top. I was talking about a peach betty, but he thought I meant a tomato betty. Does such a thing exist? Why, yes, yes it does. Anyway, the local store just happened to feature bins filled with a number of different types of cherry tomatoes. You could mix and match so I bought a bagful and brought them home and decided to try my hand at a tomato betty otherwise known as tomatoes with herbed bread crumbs.
This post will contain affiliate links. You can read more about it here.
This is a great way to use a lot of produce at once time plus make use of some of that bread you have. I used cherry tomatoes, but feel free to use what ever type you like. Cut them in halves, quarters or chunks depending on the type of tomato. If your tomatoes are meaty, great, otherwise you might want to remove some or all of the seeds in order to avoid a runny mess.
The bread crumbs can be flavored with just about any herb. I chose fresh thyme and oregano which we have growing on our balcony. Don’t forget the garlic and maybe some cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes for a little zip! Mix and match the seasonings to suit the other foods you plan to serve and your family’s taste.
If you have a food processor (or a stick blender with accessories) making fresh bread crumbs is a snap. If you don’t have one, don’t worry too much about it. Tear the bread into small pieces a little bit larger than crumbs and use a wooden spoon to mix everything together. I like the flavor of butter when I make my crumbs but the process works just as well with vegan spread or olive oil (or bacon grease for that matter). Pick the one you prefer and if you’re mixing your ingredients by hand, allow the solid fats to soften so they’ll be easy to work into the bread pieces.
This is a perfect side dish for many foods. Since I was roasting the tomatoes I baked a couple salmon filets at the same time. The two dishes won’t be done at the same time but if you start the tomatoes first they’ll wait for the salmon to finish cooking.
- 10 - 20 cherry tomatoes cut in half (enough to fill one layer of an 8 inch square baking dish)
- ½ medium onion, peeled and sliced into petals
- 2 cups, more or less, torn pieces of bread (I used the center part of a day old baguette)
- 2 tablespoons butter or other fat
- salt and pepper to taste
- garlic salt (use garlic clove if you prefer) to taste
- ground cayenne to taste
- fresh thyme leaves to taste
- fresh oregano leaves to taste
- fresh basil to taste
- Preheat the oven to 375F and prepare the baking dish with cooking spray.
- Arrange the halved cherry tomatoes, cut side up, in a single layer in the baking dish
- Scatter the chopped onions on top of the tomatoes.
- Put the bread pieces in the bottom of the food processor and add in the butter and seasonings.
- Pulse the food processor until the mix resembles crumbs and the fat and seasonings are well distributed. You might need to stop and scrape down the sides or add more fat, especially if using olive oil.
- Spread the crumbs over top the tomatoes and onions. You might not need them all.
- Bake for 15 - 20 minutes or until the tomatoes are heated through and the crumbs are golden brown.
I’m really enthusiastic about this dish for a couple reasons. One reason is that it’s easy to adapt to different types of cuisines just by changing the seasoning profile. The best reason, in my opinion, is that the crumbs remain crunchy even when storing the leftovers in the fridge. Wouldn’t it be great to take a large casserole dish to a cookout?