judy rodgers recommends this recipe for that situation when you have too many ripe tomatoes, half a loaf of yesterdays bread, and not much else. since that's what i had in the house last night, i decided to give it a try. it's a tuscan tomato soup, made from fresh tomatoes with a little onion, garlic, and basil, in which you soak stale bread. the results are wonderful -- almost like a tomato bread pudding. the stale bread develops a custardy texture after soaking in the tomatoes. the tomato flavor is intense. in texture this is like the comfort starches of deepest winter, but in flavor it is an explosion of midsummer. delightful.
(warning - you MUST use a sturdy bread that can hold up to soaking in the tomatoes. fluffy bread will fall apart. i used half a leftover pugliese loaf from sullivan st. bakery, which worked wonderfully.)