About Me
I'm a Melbourne boy, hailing from St Kilda with one ex, one current wife and four kids. Love the outdoors and making new discoveries. I cook a lot at home (cheers from wife) and do some preserving, mostly jams, pickles and fruit liqueurs. This is the diary of a cooking journey.

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Tuesday, March 09, 2010
Tomato & Onion Bake
It was a post on breadcrumbs by my favourite pantry person that got me thinking about my mum's old dish, tomato & onion bake, a regular when I was growing up.

It seems in this day and age that we either we like to pulse our own fresh breadcrumbs or use the slightly edgier Japanese panko crumbs. Sometimes we forget about the tried and true, in this case, dried breadcrumbs.

Not fashionable, but very useful.

What would a schnitzel be without them? Just a plain piece of meat. Life without crumbed lamb cutlets would be unbearable. What would bind certain mixtures together? In this recipe, they are used as a crispy topping, the counterpoint to slow roasted tomatoes and onions which intensifies the flavour of fading autumnal tomatoes.

Mum used to painstakingly layer alternate slices of tomato and onion, but with a breadcrumb topping, whose going to notice? Much easier to slice the onion, mix with the herbs and pile into a gratin dish and top with neat rows of tomato.

One thing mum never did was to add fresh herbs, only dried mixed herbs; no one at that time used fresh much except for a sprig or two of curly parsley - unless your family was from overseas, many of whom had come in search of work on the post-war Snowy Mountains scheme, Australia's largest ever hydro-electric project.

Yes, it does look a homely dish, but the taste is its own reward and the perfect accompaniment to grilled lamb chops.

Tomato & Onion Bake

3 onions, sliced
few sprigs basil leaves, chopped
few sprigs thyme, leaves stripped from stalk
olive oil
salt & fresh ground pepper
6 tomatoes, sliced

In a gratin or baking dish, add the sliced onions, basil, thyme leaves, salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil, mix well an cover the base of the dish with the mixture. Top with sliced tomatoes, season with more salt and pepper, then cover this with breadcrumbs. Drizzle over more olive oil and bake in a 200c oven for about 40 -50 minutes or until browned.
  posted at 9:36 pm

At 9:47 am, Blogger Elliot and Sandra said...

For some variation on bread crumbs you might try Matzoh meal - with passovr starting in a couple of weeks there's going to be plenty of it around

At 11:23 am, Blogger Just Desserts said...

Thank you. I have such fond memories of Crumbed lamb cuttlet dinners at Grandma's- it was dried breadcrumbs and herbs all the way.... i will be trying this recpie this week.

At 2:56 pm, Blogger Kalyn Denny said...

I love the sound of this recipe, and your photos are stunning! Drooling here, and not just because it's been so long since I've seen a fresh tomato either.

At 9:49 pm, Blogger neil said...

Hi elliot, we actually have plenty of matzo on hand. Dorota is asking if you know of the recipe for matzo with milk and egg?

Hi josephine, forget hot dog eating contests, bring on the crumbed lamb cutlet fest. Reckon I could do 10 at a minimum...before breakfast.

Hi kalyn, those photos are done in such a rush, the family wants to eat, now!

At 1:33 pm, Anonymous Anh said...

Neil, this is incredible. Really. I like to collect and make family recipes like this.

Will make this one soon. With the grilled lamb chop, as suggested.

At 10:15 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Neil-this dish SO reminds me of my Granny & her roasts on Sundays!

At 5:35 pm, Blogger Jenny said...

I remember this, mum used to make it often. The tomatoes were always screamingly hot and the trick was how long to wait before you could avoid a scalded mouth. Today I am faced with two baskets of freshly picked tomatoes so I may give this recipe a go sometime on the weekend.

At 12:45 am, Anonymous Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Isn't it fun to give new life to old familiar pantry ingredients? I'm so glad my blog inspires you!

At 9:23 pm, Blogger neil said...

Hi anh, we grew up with this and it's so simple too, but full of flavour.

Hi steve, ah, happy memories I bet.

Hi jenny, it's hard to wait for something you know is good, burnt my mouth a few times too.

Hi lydia, your posts always inspire me and it was nice to have the prompt to this recipe.

At 4:13 pm, Blogger Bryony said...

I am going to try this tonight! My mum used to make something v.similar and I loved it. I have been looking for a similar recipe and I think this could be it! :)

At 8:29 am, Anonymous Liz (Good Things) said...



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