Bread Crumb Topping for Tomatoes with Olives and Parmesan 

This great topping is for tomatoes, but could work on lots of other summer vegetables. The breadcrumb topping makes about 3 cups of topping.

Bread Crumb Topping with Olives and Parmesan

  • 2 pounds mixed tomatoes (cherry, heirlooms, etc.)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups homemade breadcrumbs
  • 1 ½ ounces coarsely grated Parmesan
  • 3 ounces green olives, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Heat the oven to 325°. Slice larger tomatoes into ½-inch rounds or wedges and cut smaller tomatoes in half and spread out on a serving platter or individual plates. Season them generously with salt and black pepper, if you’d like.

If you don’t have breadcrumbs on hand, tear the bread into small, 1-inch pieces, then pulse in a food processor until you have coarse crumbs.

In a large bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, cheese, olives, zest, fennel seeds and red-pepper flakes, if using. Finely grate the garlic into the bowl then add 2 tablespoons olive oil and toss everything together very well.

Transfer the breadcrumb mixture to a sheet pan and place on a middle rack in the oven. Toast, stirring two or three times, until the crumbs are golden brown, the olives have shriveled slightly, and your kitchen starts to smell wonderfully– 17 to 23 minutes. Let cool—a little if you’re going to use them right away, completely if you plan to freeze them (see my verdict below)

To serve, drizzle the tomatoes with the vinegar followed by the remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil. Just before you’re ready to serve, sprinkle the bread-crumb mixture over the top, serve and enjoy!

My verdict:

Besides tomatoes. this breadcrumb mixture would (and does) work on almost anything you’d put breadcrumbs on. Roast some sliced eggplant or zucchini, tossed in olive oil when you’re doing the crumbs.
Another thought was that a nice hunk of burrata would be incredible in this, but in truth, it doesn’t need it. I served recently at a friend’s dinner party, and it was demolished in minutes.

For some crazy reason we were out of green olives, so black worked fine.

I’ve been keeping it in a Ziplock bag in the freezer and tossing it in a warm frying pan to lightly warm and toast it right before serving.

Try it and let me know in the comments, what you’ve used it on.



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