Stewed Tomatoes with Butter Toasted Croutons
Stewed tomatoes is one dish I’ve never had any place but at home, cooked by my mother. I’ve never seen them on a menu anywhere, have you? Too bad, too; as they are truly delicious, and so easy to make. Warning – do not skimp on the butter or sugar. The sugar is needed to balance the acidity of the tomatoes and the butter is absolutely necessary for the taste. This batch was made with fresh heirloom tomatoes from the market; the better quality tomato you start with, the better the result will be. That said, during most of the year when farm fresh juicy tomatoes are not available we will make stewed tomatoes with canned tomatoes. We also often mix in some cooked elbow macaroni instead of serving it with croutons. Oddly enough, stewed tomatoes of some sort is what we usually have to accompany tuna macaroni salad. Something about the over all mix of the flavors really works.
- 3 cups cored, peeled, roughly chopped, fresh, ripe tomatoes (about 2 lbs)
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 4 teaspoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 6 basil leaves, chopped
- 2 or 3 slices of crusty French or Italian bread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
- 1 Tbsp butter
- Garlic salt
1 Put peeled, chopped tomatoes, butter, sugar, salt and pepper into a small saucepan. Heat to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low. Let simmer for 20-30 minutes or until tomatoes are cooked, soft, and the flavors have blended. Add chopped basil and add more butter, sugar, salt and pepper if needed for balance.
2 Melt 1 Tbsp butter in a small frying pan on medium heat. Add the bread cubes, arrange in a single layer on the pan. Let gently cook on medium heat so that the bread dries out and gets slightly toasted. Turn pieces over to toast other sides. Cook for about 10 minutes or until the croutons are crunchy dry, and slightly toasted. Sprinkle with garlic salt. Remove from heat.
Serve stewed tomatoes with a few croutons on top of each individual serving, and the rest of the croutons available in a small bowl to add as desired.