Here is a toothsome quick bread for those first cool days of fall, a perfect marriage between fresh garden produce and your baking pan. This imaginative upside-down bread features a layer of juicy tomatoes and a cornmeal-laced batter with grated zucchini and fresh herbs.
This clever recipe is a tasty way to use some of those tomatoes and zucchini your neighbors are trying to unload on you: Tomato Harvest Bread is fragrant, satisfying, and totally delicious, a perfect accompaniment to any soup or stew.
3 or 4 large ripe tomatoes, cored and sliced thinly
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup finely ground yellow cornmeal
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon fresh chopped marjoram leaves
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup grated zucchini
1. Preheat oven to 400F. Spread the butter evenly over the bottom and sides of a 9-inch by 13-inch baking pan. Arrange the tomato slices in neat overlapping rows. Bake 30 minutes, then remove from oven.
2. Meanwhile, make the batter: Into a large bowl, sift together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. Add herbs and pepper. In a separate bowl, place eggs, oil, milk, and sugar, whisking to combine, then stir in the zucchini.
3. When tomatoes are finished baking, make a well in the dry ingredients and add the liquid, stirring until just blended. Pour batter over tomatoes, spreading evenly with the back of a spoon.
4. Bake about 25 minutes, until golden brown, then immediately invert the bread over a baking sheet. Allow to cool slightly, then cut into squares and serve.
Inspired by Soup Makes the Meal, by Ken Haedrich (Harvard Common Press, 2001).