Savory Tomato Charlotte
|Firm white bread||1 Pound, thinly sliced, slightly stale, crusts removed (1 loaf)|
|Olive oil||3⁄4 Cup (12 tbs)|
|Garlic cloves||2 Medium, bruised|
|Red bell peppers||2 Large|
|Shallots||2 Medium, minced|
|Tomatoes||2 1⁄2 Pound, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped, juices reserved|
|Chopped fresh basil||2 Tablespoon|
|Minced fresh thyme||1 1⁄2 Teaspoon|
1) In a four 10-ounce custard cups (about 4 1/2 by 1 3/4 inches each), line the bottom with a round of bread.
2) Cut out 4 larger rounds of bread to fit the tops. Cut out 16 rectangles with the diemsion of 3 1/2 by 1 3/4 inches, from the bread. Fit 4 rectangles against the sides of each custard cup, trimming with scissors for an even fit.
3) In a large heavy skillet, warm 1/2 cup oil.
4) Add garlic to sautÃ© over moderately low heat for 3 to 5 minutes to flavor the oil; do not let the garlic brown.
5) In a small bowl, pour the oil by discarding the garlic.
6) Remove the bread from the custard cups and lightly brush on both sides with the flavored oil.
7) In the same skillet, fry the bread slices for 1 minute on each side, over moderately high heat, turning once, until golden brown on both sides.
8) Transfer the bread slices on paper towels to soak extra oil.
9) Add more of the flavored oil as necessary, heating well before frying more bread.
10) While the bread is still warm and malleable, re-line the bottoms and sides of the molds with the fried bread pieces. Reserve the larger rounds to cover the molds.
11) Place peppers directly over a gas flame or under a broiler for roasting by turning occasionally, until blackened all over, 10 to 15 minutes.
12) Place the peppers in a sealable paper or plastic bag and let these sweat for about 10 minutes.
13) Rinse in water and peel off the skin.
14) Discard stems, seeds and ribs.
15) In a food processor or blender, add the peppers to prepare a puree.
16) In a large heavy skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil.
17) SautÃ© the shallots over moderate heat until soft and translucent, about 2 minutes.
18) Add the tomatoes and their juices to sautÃ© over moderately high heat until the juices evaporate, about 10 minutes.
19) Lower the heat and stir in the red pepper puree, basil, thyme and salt. Let it cool slightly, after removing from heat.
20) Fill the lined molds with this mixture and place the reserved bread circles on top to cover.
21) On top of each charlotte, place a square of plastic wrap or wax paper and weigh down with pie weights or an 8-ounce can.
22) Place inside refrigerator to chill for overnight or for up to 2 days.
23) Remove the weights and allow to come back the charlottes in room temperature.
24) In a cookie sheet, unmold the charlottes and lightly brush with remaining 3 tablespoons oil.
25) Place inside the broiler, to broil about 4 inches from the heat until crisp on the top and warmed through, 3 to 4 minutes.
26) Serve the charlottes warm or at room temperature by garnishing with fresh herbs, if desired.