It’s funny how we come across recipes. I have been making this tomato and onion bake for a few years now, it makes a fantastic side for a nice piece of steak but pairs well with almost anything meaty in my opinion.
I originally came across this recipe in a newspaper while at work with a foodie friend. He photocopied the recipe for both of us and I made it for the first time that very night. I still have the original photocopy where I have handwritten ‘add thyme’ on it. It’s only today that I went searching for the original source that I found the author’s blog, Deb’s Raving Recipes.
The author tells a lovely story in the original newspaper article and blog post about how her friend’s family has made the original version of her ‘Aunt Kitty’s pie’ for generations.
So I cannot take any credit for the origins of this recipe, but I will implore you to make it. The photos honestly don’t do it justice. The tomatoes and onions soften right up and take on a delicious sweetness and umami flavour as the original author mentions. I love the bread element for the crunchy texture and I also love adding in some thyme to balance out that almost meaty richness of the tomatoes and onions. We normally pair it with a grilled or barbequed steak, but I also love the original author’s idea of pairing this with roasted meats. Now I’m picturing a roast leg of lamb with this as a simple side…yum!
Such humble beginnings.
Cut the bread into large, but still bite-sized, chunks. You want something grainy for this. I sadly can’t buy it here, but in Aus, I use Helga’s Soy and Linseed bread which works a treat.
You can use one medium sized casserole dish for this as I’ve instructed in the recipe below, or you can make two smaller dishes as I’ve done in this photo.
Slice your tomatoes and onions into fairly thick slices.
Layer all of the elements. Start with tomato and onion, scatter some sugar, butter, Parmesan and thyme over and then season well with salt and pepper. Top with bread and then start again.
You should get about 3 layers in, so long as you push each layer down a bit with your hands as you go.
Bake in the oven for 45 minutes or until the top layer of bread has become quite crispy and the tomato and onion has collapsed and some parts have caramelised.
Tomato and Onion Bake – Adapted from a Debbie Skelton Recipe
Ingredients – Makes 1 medium casserole sized bake (~650ml capacity dish) Serves 3-4 as a side
- 2 tbs of unsalted butter cut into small cubes plus extra for greasing
- 2 big ripe tomatoes, sliced thickly
- ½ peeled and thickly sliced brown onion
- 1 tbs of brown sugar
- 1 tbs of freshly picked thyme leaves
- 2 tbs of grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 cups of wholegrain bread that’s been cut into bite sized cubes
- Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease a 650ml capacity ovenproof dish with butter.
- Layer the ingredients by first placing a third of the tomatoes and onions into the base of the dish. Season well with salt and pepper.
- Next sprinkle with some of the sugar, thyme and Parmesan and dot with some of the butter. Place some of the bread cubes on top and then push that down with your hands.
- Continue layering in this fashion again starting with tomato and onions. You should be able to get 3 layers so long as you push each layer down.
- Finish the top layer with bread chunks and cheese.
- Bake in the oven for 45 minutes or until the top layer of bread has become quite crispy and the tomato and onion has collapsed and some parts have caramelised.
- Best served hot, as soon as made. A delicious side for steak.