It is time for the recipe swap again and this time we are dealing with tomato pudding. How can this little book chose by Christianna be so full of wacky recipes is a mystery to me, but I guess that is life, so I’ll deal with it… And I will come out winning! Or at least I will try.
Anyway, after the first moment of despair, I thought I should do something with bread and tomatoes and friselle immediately came to mind. Friselle are a typical dish from Southern Italy, Puglia to be more specific. It is a simple dish, consisting of toasted bread and tomatoes.
The bread is toasted to death, until it basically turns into a brick. While this doesn’t sound very appealing, it is a very convenient way of storing bread for long periods of time. I read that friselle were a common food for sailors, that would just take them on their trip and soak them in sea water to soften and flavor them up before eating. Not sure if that is the best way of eating friselle, but I can see it working.
On land, friselle are usually seasoned up by topping them with tomatoes and letting the friselle absorb all the nice juices from the tomatoes. As all the flavor comes from the tomatoes, it is key to choose the most flavorful tomatoes you can find. If you do that, friselle will taste awesome.
On a side note, to make friselle you are basically making bread rolls and then toasting them dry. The bread rolls are awesome before toasting. So you might want to bake a bigger batch and toast some of the bread and eat the rest fresh out of the oven. Those seriously are among the best bread rolls I ever baked and a very close match to the pull apart mayo bread rolls I baked for Chef Dennis!
Check out what everyone else did!
Recipe swap: friselle with tomatoes
- 1/2 lb (about 2 cups) all purpose flour
- 1/2 lb (about 2 cups) whole wheat flour
- 1 and 1/2 cup water
- 1 pinch salt
- 1/2 tsp activated dry yeast
Topping (for 4 friselle)
- 2 cups flavorful tomatoes
- 1 clove garlic (optional)
- extra virgin olive oil
- basil (optional)
- Mix the two flours with 1 cup of water in which you dissolved the yeast. Add the salt and knead into a soft, non sticky ball adding the rest of the water as you knead. You might need to add a little less or a little more water depending on the flour, so add a bit at a time.
- When your dough is well kneaded, form into a ball and put in a large bowl. Cover in plastic and let proof until it doubles. It should take about 6 hours.
- Divide the dough into 8 parts weighting approximately 4oz. each and roll in balls the size of a baseball ball. Let rise for about 1 hour.
- Roll the balls out into a log and form into 8 bagels of sorts. Stretch out to get a rather wide hole, it will fill up as the bread raises. Cover again and let rise for another hour.
- Cook in the oven at 400F for about 10 minutes. They should still be soft and shouldn’t brown up.
- Take the rolls rolls out of the oven and place them on a cooling rack to cool down.
- When they are cool enough to handle, cut them in half and place back in the oven at 250F cut side up to dry out. Cook for about 1 hour or until toasted throughout.
- Get the toasted friselle out of the oven and let them cool down on a cooling rack.
- The friselle are ready and will last months if stored in a dry place.
- Wash the tomatoes and dice them saving all their liquid.
- Place the diced tomatoes and their liquid in a bowl and season to taste with salt, pepper, basil and olive oil. Mix everything up and let rest for a couple of minutes.
- If you are using the garlic, rub the clove onto the friselle to season them up.
- Top the friselle with the tomatoes and their juices and let them rest for a couple of hours so that the tomato juices can soften them up.
- Serve as an appetizer or a snack or even a light lunch.
- To speed up the softening process, you can soak the friselle in warm water before topping them with the tomatoes.
- You can make the topping more substantial by adding canned tuna to the tomatoes.