On Tuesday my mom returned home from visiting my grandmother in Tennessee. She came back with a lot of amazing homegrown tomatoes. We knew we had to eat them pretty quickly because we did not to waste a single one of my grandmother’s homegrown tomatoes.
On Wednesday mom and I both had great tomato sandwiches on some Joseph’s Lavash bread and a smear of light mayonnaise. Tomato sandwiches are pretty amazing, and I ate them all the time in the summers when I was growing up. I still love them.
During my lunch break at work, I googled “What to do with a lot of homegrown tomatoes”. Seriously. That is what I googled. I am really glad that I did, because a recipe popped up for something I had never thought of. Tomato Gratin. How had I never thought of this before? Potato Gratin, sure. I have had it. I’ve never made it. I think I made a potato and leek gratin which was amazing. I was really excited to go home and try this recipe.
After getting home from work I went right into the kitchen and got straight to work. I grabbed my mini-food processor (I love this little thing – it is such a life saver when you do not feel like dragging out your big 12 cup food processor. If you don’t have one, I highly recommend picking one up – I have had my Cuisinart mini prep for years!) and a few of the basic ingredients. I got out a small chopping board because I was really hell bent on not making a complete mess while putting this rather simple dish together.
I chopped up some garlic. I toasted some bread. I peeled the tomatoes. I quickly made the bread crumbs and threw them into the oven to brown a little more:
The bread crumbs had some great flavor from the garlic, olive oil and the parmesan cheese:
There is nothing like homemade bread crumbs. These were a bit fine, but they still worked and browned up nicely in the oven. I got to work in slicing the tomatoes and making my first layer of the gratin:
I love fresh basil. I kept the pieces on the bigger side. Normally I really chop basil – but today I figured this dish was so simple, keeping the basil in larger pieces might benefit our palates. I added a little more cheese, a good amount of freshly ground pepper and I went light on the salt because the cheese is a bit salty, too. I certainly did not want to mask the flavors of my fresh tomatoes and basil by adding too much salt.
In a few minutes all of my layers were complete and this is what the tomato gratin looked like before I put it in the oven for the first ten minutes:
After ten minutes of cooking, I took the dish out and added the bread crumbs. Then I put the gratin back into the oven for another 8 minutes. The bread crumbs were turning really brown – so I did not let the dish cook for the entire 10 minutes that the instructions specified.
The final product:
I think most people probably use this as a side dish (I’m guessing??) but mom and I ate this for our entire dinner. We both had seconds.
This gratin was really good. It was a really perfect fit for the type of day we are having here in New England. It is raining and sixty degrees. I loved that this dish felt like fall, but took full advantage of such a summery ingredients tomato and basil. It was a nice evening to turn the oven on and eat something warm. After days of 90 degrees plus, having a day to wear jeans and a long sleeved shirt was a really nice change – and the cuisine fit perfectly!
I hope you are all having a good week and have made time to cook something special for yourselves! See you soon.