MemberAugust 14, 2021 at 8:09 am
I’ve been waiting for my tomatoes to come in to make this. The juicier the tomatoes, the better. Really delicious!
Be sure to watch the video if you are a CI subscriber–good visual clues for doneness, etc.
BEFORE YOU BEGIN
For the best results, use the ripest in-season tomatoes you can find. Supermarket vine-ripened tomatoes will work, but the gratin won’t be as flavorful as one made with locally grown tomatoes. Do not use plum tomatoes, which contain less juice than regular round tomatoes and will result in a dry gratin. For the bread, we prefer a crusty baguette with a firm, chewy crumb. You can serve the gratin hot, warm, or at room temperature.
Summer Tomato Gratin
GATHER YOUR INGREDIENTS
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 ounces crusty baguette, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (4 cups)
3 garlic cloves, sliced thin
3 pounds tomatoes, cored and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 ½ ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (3/4 cup)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Heat ¼ cup oil in 12-inch oven-safe skillet over medium-low heat until shimmering. Add bread and stir to coat. Cook, stirring constantly, until bread is browned and toasted, about 5 minutes. Transfer bread to bowl.
Return now-empty skillet to low heat and add remaining 2 tablespoons oil and garlic. Cook, stirring constantly, until garlic is golden at edges, 30 to 60 seconds. Add tomatoes, sugar, salt, and pepper and stir to combine. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes have started to break down and have released enough juice to be mostly submerged, 8 to 10 minutes.
Remove skillet from heat and gently stir in 3 cups bread until completely moistened and evenly distributed. Using spatula, press down on bread until completely submerged. Arrange remaining 1 cup bread evenly over surface, pressing to partially submerge. Sprinkle evenly with Parmesan.
Bake until top of gratin is deeply browned, tomatoes are bubbling, and juice has reduced, 40 to 45 minutes; after 30 minutes, run spatula around edge of skillet to loosen crust and release any juice underneath. (Gratin will appear loose and jiggle around outer edges but will thicken as it cools.)
Remove skillet from oven and let stand for 15 minutes. Sprinkle gratin with basil and serve.
MemberAugust 14, 2021 at 2:48 pm
Shoot. I just gave away my beautiful local heritage tomatoes because I had too many. This looks so delicious, but I think not for 2 tomatoes.
MemberAugust 15, 2021 at 9:22 am
Oh darn! I weighed the tomatoes to be sure I had 3lbs worth, and I used about 6, some were very large and a few were medium sized. They were so ripe I was able to slice them over a bowl to capture all of the juices. Had it last night for dinner. Superb.
Wondering if you could halve the recipe once another tomato comes in. 🙂
MemberAugust 15, 2021 at 9:10 pm
Yep. that’s what I did. I think it just needs a little more bread to make sure there is enough for the critical top. Portioning the recipe didn’t work perfectly as I was more concerned with the top being covered so perhaps a little too little went into the body. I made 2 small coquottes, dividing the recipe into about 1/3s.
I’m having leftovers tonight. Thanks Mo.
- This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by marg-cdn2.
MemberAugust 16, 2021 at 7:34 am
MemberAugust 17, 2021 at 12:53 pm
Here’s what you can expect if you don’t follow the specific instructions and respect good simple ingredients.
I wrote this to monj last year after a friend offered to make this dish while I made dinner.
This is all true: Please just follow the instructions as written. There is a reason!
Last years review to monj:
My friend had fresh tomatoes so she offered to make the gratin and I brought the rest of dinner to prepare at her house. I’d read through the recipe and confirmed she had all the ingredients, offering to bring fresh basil because mine was actually alive and edible…two adjectives not often applicable to plants I own. I have a 1,000 square foot house. She has a kitchen nearly that size alone, so I worked on one half prepping the entree while she was on the other side of the continent prepping the tomato gratin.
My first indication there might be an issue was when she said, rather proudly, “You know…I never follow a recipe. I just use proportions I like.”
A tiny shiver of apprehension turned into a worrisome twinge when she opened the oven and put the bread in to brown. I said: “Don’t you do those on the stovetop?” without adding…”until bread is browned and toasted” because that, apparently, was part of the recipe we were going to “not follow”. They came out a few minutes later, white and 2” square, like a child’s building block instead of the 3/4” browned and toasted pieces as specified by The Recipe.
Huh, I thought.
Then I turned around and she’d cut these beautiful 3” beefsteaks into quarters. Let me repeat: quarters. In NO UNIVERSE does a 3” diameter quartered tomato represent 3/4” pieces.
Huh, I thought. Again.
Then she said “Oh!”
(actual stomach twinge this time…)
“This has to bake for 45 minutes!” Well that’s not necessary!”
The gratin went on the top oven rack above my 12×18” cookie sheet with cod and roasting vegetables (which covered the entire bottom rack). So not only would it bake for a shorter time, but its heat source was completely blocked from below.
Twenty minutes later it was out. While we were eating it, she said: “Why did you ask about bringing basil? It doesn’t go in this recipe.” And I thought, it doesn’t?? Then I said: “It doesn’t?”
Result: Hubris ruined the opportunity to truly evaluate this recipe as written. Baby block cubes ended up as mushy blobs and the tomatoes collapsed but had no opportunity to caramelize or deepened in flavor. Also NO BASIL!
I’ll wait for heritage tomatoes and make this myself and follow the DAMN RECIPE, because it definitely has potential.
- This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by marilynfl.
MemberAugust 17, 2021 at 4:01 pm
Marilyn – thank you for this. I was just going to kinda throw it together without measuring – note the emphasis on “was”