Winter Tomato Casserole

January 31st, 2009

There is nothing better than a vine ripened tomato warm from the summer sun. I have not always liked tomatoes, but over the years I have learned to appreciate them. What can I say – I was a picky eater as a child and the closest I came to liking vegetables was canned corn and french fries. Tomatoes took a while, but now they are my friends. In the summer I love a slice of tomato on lightly toasted bread with basil leaves tucked beneath, a drizzle of olive oil and pepper on top and placed back in the toaster oven to warm and soften the tomato. Speaking of friends, I discovered last year that I have a friend from high school who has published a complete book on tomatoes. And it was nominated for a James Beard Award! It is now out of print, but I bought a copy on Amazon. It is called Tomato Imperative and you can buy it here. There are more than 130 recipes and it covers everything from using the first green tomatoes, to recipes for canned tomatoes. Sharon is also a fellow blogger and you can visit her at . . . thrice shy, listed in my favorite blogs. One recipe that Sharon included that is unusual is for Sweet Tomato and Bread Pudding which turns out to be very similar to a recipe that I have been cooking for a while.

My recipe came originally from a woman nicknamed Mama Dip. She has become well known in North Carolina because she has a restaurant in Chapel Hill. But she is known nationally because she has published several cookbooks, one of which is Mama Dip’s Kitchen.
The thing that is so refreshing about Mama Dip is that she never follows recipes. She learned from an early age the process of “dump” cooking – dump in a little of this, a little of that, a pinch of seasoning, a palm full of sugar. And then taste. By trial and error a dish was created. Mothers passed the recipes to children by hands on cooking and observation. When Mama Dip was asked to write a cookbook she was forced to measure for the first time in her life in order to be sure that all of us who lacked her innate sense of taste would not fail. Another feature of her dishes is cooking with what you have- no fancy ingredients required. It is good down home cooking and usually seasonal in its approach. Since this time of year we are relying more on canned tomatoes, Mama Dip’s tomato casserole is a winner. I have to warn you, you may think you are eating dessert when you try this because it is a little sweet. But what better way to get non-lovers of tomatoes to eat what is good for them. This recipe was printed in Southern Living magazine.


2 (14 1/2ounce) cans whole tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups soft white bread cubes (about 3 slices) – I used 5 slices of Pepperridge Farm Original White Bread
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 t. pepper

Stir together all ingredients. Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 9 inch baking dish. Bake at 400 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes.

4 responses to “Winter Tomato Casserole”

  1. That sounds really good! I am going to look into Mama Dips Kitchen Cookbook.

    Looking forward to your return to Lake Lure. We will definately have to get together!

  2. Penny says:

    For sure! What are your favorite restaurants?

  3. Cindy Jurney says:

    Can I make this a day ahead and refrigerate?

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