Monday, September 1, 2014

Tomato, Mozzarella and Chickpea Bake

I absolutely love having 3-day weekends.  Why can't every weekend be extra long?  It gives you time to relax, catch up on sleep, and make delicious recipes to tide you over for the week!

Anyway, back to this savory bread pudding... I know, that doesn't sound so great.  When I made this, I was home alone and invited my mom over for lunch.  She took absolutely forever getting here!  When she finally came, she said she had stopped to visit my aunt Betsy on her walk over.  I served her some of this tomato, mozzarella and chickpea bake.  She ate it, told me it was good, and then grabbed her cell phone before she was even done.  I am constantly yelling at Mark for using his phone during meals, so when I went to scold my mom, she said, "hold on!  I am texting Betsy that this meal was actually good.  We had been making fun of it together because it sounded so gross!"  Ha!

So I guess savory bread pudding doesn't sound great, but how about this: soft chunks of ciabatta, baked with roasted tomatoes, lightly crushed chickpeas, ricotta, parmesan, garlic, kalamata olives, fresh mozzarella, capers, parsley, and basil!  Eggs hold it all together, so in a way, it is like a bread pudding, but I won't call it that anymore since apparently it makes people ridicule me and my recipes!  But in the end, Mom and I thought this was pretty good.  Mark wouldn't go near it due to his weird aversion to eggs, of course!  For me, anything that involves the Middle Eastern staples of chickpeas and kalamata olives is A-okay with me!


tomato, mozzarella and chickpea bake
from Fast Fresh Vegetarian by Metro Books
serves 6


1/2 loaf ciabatta, crusts removed, torn into 3/4-inch pieces
12 1/2 ounces grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
12 1/2 ounces canned chickpeas, drained, rinsed
3 ounces fresh ricotta
10 eggs
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3/4 cup finely grated parmesan
1 tablespoon drained baby capers
2/3 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
1 ball buffalo mozzarella, torn
2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, torn


1) Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2) Place bread on parchment paper-lines oven tray.  Squeeze seeds and juices from tomatoes over bread; place tomatoes on tray.  Drizzle with half the olive oil and season to taste.  Roast 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until bread is golden and tomatoes soft.

3) Meanwhile, using a potato masher, lightly crush chickpeas in a large bowl; season.  Whisk in ricotta, eggs, garlic, parsley, and three quarters of the parmesan until combined.  Stir in capers, olives and half the tomato mixture.  Season.

4) Heat remaining oil in an ovenproof 10 1/2-inch heavy-based frying pan over medium heat until very hot.  Immediately add egg mixture; top with remaining tomato mixture and parmesan.  Cook 8 minutes or until browned around the edge and half set.

5) Cover loosely with parchment paper; bake in the oven 15 minutes or until set.  Stand bake 5 minutes.  Invert onto a large plate; flip onto a second large plate right-way up.  Serve topped with mozzarella and basil.  Drizzle with a little extra olive oil if you like.

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