Tomato Bread Pudding

Quajado de Tomate

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This delectable cross between an omelet and a bread pudding is one of the joys of the summer tomato season. It is called fritada in Sefarad Yemekleri, but in other cookbooks it is known as quajado de tomate. Quajado can mean “congealed, ” or it may be related to queijado, the Portuguese word for “cheesecake.” The Arab word for the earthenware cooking vessel called a cazuela by the Spanish was qas’ah, so the term is very ancient indeed. Janet Mendel, in her award-winning book Traditional Spanish Cooking, has a recipe for cuajado de almendra, an almond bread pudding, so the word is still in use in Spain. For this wonderful dish, only full-flavored seasonal tomatoes need apply.

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped (about 6 cups)
  • salt
  • sugar
  • 4 slices rustic bread, crusts removed, soaked in water, and squeezed dry
  • 6 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • ½ pound kashkaval cheese, or half gruyere cheese and half parmesan cheese, grated (about 2 cups)
  • freshly ground black pepper

Method

Place the chopped tomatoes in a colander, sprinkling the layers with a little salt and a bit of sugar to draw out the excess moisture, and let drain for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Oil a 9-by-12-by-2-inch baking dish.

Transfer the tomatoes to a bowl and add the soaked bread, eggs, parsley, and all but about ½ cup of the cheese. Mix well and season with salt and pepper. Transfer the mixture to the prepared dish and evenly sprinkle the remaining ½ cup over the top.

Bake the pudding until golden and set, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve warm directly from the dish.