Cooking With Anna – Scalloped Tomatoes

Pomme d’amour, the “Love Apple,” the humble tomato, was once considered an exotic fruit with the powers to spark love for any who dared to eat one. What actually happened was a spark of love for this lovely fruit. Whether you like them green and fried, red and juicy, yellow and mild, tomatoes are an amazing fruit. While technically and botanically speaking, the tomato is a fruit, culturally, it is considered a vegetable.

Every summer, I look forward to one of my favorite sandwiches – a thick, juicy, red, ripe tomato between two pieces of white bread with mayo, salt, and pepper. The juice will run down my elbows, and I become as happy as a pig in mud while I chomp on my “mater sammich.”

My mother would take fresh tomatoes, or canned ones in the winter, and make a wonderful scrumptious side dish called scalloped tomatoes. Now, most people know scalloped potatoes, a heavy dish full of butter, cheese, and cream. Scalloped potatoes can be lovely, but not always lovely for your waist line. Scalloped tomatoes are the opposite of their heavily starchy cousin. They are light, refreshing, and oh so satisfying.

Fresh, diced tomatoes are tossed with salt, pepper, and fresh herbs of your choosing, topped with crackers, bread crumbs, or diced bread; you can make this dish your own. It’s like having a tomato sandwich in a bowl! As children, we would request scalloped tomatoes on a weekly basis. It is such an easy side dish to put together. I’m sure my mom loved when we requested her tomatoes. My mother’s version simply used saltine crackers laid across the top of the tomatoes and then baked. I have added a few things over the years, and it is still one of my favorite things to eat.

This summer, introduce your family to scalloped tomatoes. You won’t regret sitting down to the supper table featuring this lovely dish. Happy summer!

Scalloped Tomatoes

6 medium tomatoes, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, minced
Salt & pepper to taste
1 cup crushed crackers (saltine, butter, or club)
3 Tbsp. butter, divided

In a skillet, sauté garlic in 2 tablespoons of butter for two minutes. Remove from heat and add cracker crumbs, parsley, salt, pepper, and remaining butter; mix well. Place diced tomatoes in a greased 8×8 square baking dish. Top with cracker mixture. Bake uncovered, at 400?F for 20 minutes or until heated through. Feel free to add different herbs or parmesan cheese to your cracker topping.

By: Anna Hamilton