Tomatoes are such a gift to the home gardener. Take a trip to your local nursery, buy a couple of plants, dig a couple of holes, pop ’em in and water regularly. Soon enough they’ll be growing so tall that you have to cage ’em up just to keep them off the ground. You are giddy when you discover your first tomato baby, just a wee nubbin, forming at the tip of one of those yellow flowers. You go out and look at it EVERY – SINGLE – DAY. You wait as patiently as you can, until that little baby grows bigger and it’s color turns from green to pinkish to ruby red……and the happy day comes when you get to pick it off the vine and shove it in your mouth and savor every minute of this amazing wonder of nature like it’s the first and last tomato you have ever had in your whole life and it is sooooo delicious that you can’t even imagine EVER eating anything but tomatoes off the vine all day every day all summer long….
Except that while you were watching junior go from infancy to tomato adulthood you may or may not have noticed a whole bunch of siblings popping up around it. Bumper crop! Tomatoes are sorta like that. I hope you are lucky enough to have scored enough home-growns this summer that you can’t even give them away. I truly hope you have the good fortune to be so sick of the things that you cannot look another caprese salad in the face.
Good on you. I am jealous.
For those of us who have to find contentment in never ripe enough store bought tomatoes – and perhaps even for those of you in a what-do-I-do-with-all-of-these-things glut; my answer for today is this tomato gratin. Thick tomato slices barely roasted in garlic and olive oil, just enough so that they are more warmed than cooked, and crowned with a satisfyingly crispy, cheesy Panko crust. This is the perfect side dish to offer up next to any protein, or serve it with a salad and go vegetarian style.
Of course you can always put an egg on it. That’s what leftovers are for……..
get the recipe below:
- 3 - 4 medium to large tomatoes*
- 1 garlic clove, finely minced
- 1 cup of Panko bread crumbs**
- 1/2 cup olive oil, divided
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1-2 ounces finely grated parmesan or romano or asiago cheese***
- handful of fresh basil leaves (about 1/4 cup)- torn/ save some extra small leaves whole for garnish
- 1. Preheat your oven to 400°
- 2. Cut tomatoes into 1/2 inch slices and place into a shallow bowl.
- 3. Sprinkle tomatoes with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste. Add garlic, torn basil leaves and red wine vinegar. Drizzle in 1/4 cup of olive oil. Toss gently to coat.
- 4. Arrange tomato slices in a shallow 3-4 quart glass or ceramic baking dish. Pour any remaining liquid from your bowl over the tomatoes.
- 5. Combine Panko breadcrumbs with the dried thyme, dried oregano and grated cheese in a small bowl. Scatter this evenly over the layered tomatoes.
- 6. Evenly drizzle olive oil over the breadcrumb mixture - about 1/4 cup.
- 7. Bake at 400° for 20 - 25 minutes until bread-crumbs are golden. Remove the dish from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with the small extra basil leaves.
- *make sure your tomatoes are not over ripe
- **gotta use Panko, regular breadcrumbs are not crispy enough for this
- *** this will be around 1/2 cup