Juicy field ripened tomatoes. Crispy fresh breadcrumbs sauteed in olive oil. Basil and thyme leaves scattered about. And then a few handfuls of shredded parmesan sprinkled over the top. Hungry yet? Then you’d better make this yummy baked sliced tomato gratin.
These past few weeks I’ve been visiting the farm stands in the area and buying up tomatoes. I can’t get enough of them this time of year! I bought so many my last trip, the clerk felt the need to warn me that it was going to be expensive. Apparently some people forget that big, beefsteak tomatoes are heavy and it’ll cost you more than a few bucks to buy a bagful.
And then get rude at the clerk. 🙁
Luckily I am aware of the cost of tomatoes, and not one to be rude to clerks anyway, so I cheerfully paid for my yummy tomatoes, brought them home, and plotted how I was going to cook them. Or not cook them, like in Tomato Gazpacho. There are so many choices and all of them are wonderful! Believe me, though, my mind immediately went to gratins.
I know. So surprising for me.
A little slicing, a little baking, some sauteed breadcrumbs later, and this beautifully fresh baked sliced tomato gratin was born. Whereupon it was summarily eaten. It didn’t last long!
My husband was a little skeptical of tomato gratin at first. He wasn’t sure how it would work. 🙂 However, I didn’t see any reason I couldn’t bake up tomato slices in a gratin dish and cover them with breadcrumbs. Maybe add a few fresh herbs, some garlic, and olive oil. It seemed reasonable to me.
I generally figure I can do that with any vegetable, and so far I’ve been right every time. Give me a vegetable, and I’ll make a gratin of it!
Baking the tomatoes gives them an intense, rich flavor, like a really awesome tomato sauce, but one you can bite into. The breadcrumbs on top provide a crunchy, crispy contrast to the softer tomatoes, and they definitely need to be fresh breadcrumbs for this recipe. You don’t want breadcrumbs which are too fine. The texture is important! Just use whatever bread you have in the house and chop it up. I threw a few dinner rolls in the food processor for these crumbs and it was perfect. (Extra breadcrumbs freeze well.) Strew some fresh herbs around, tie it all together with the olive oil, and you have a gratin you can get into the oven in a few minutes which any tomato fan will love.
– Happy Eating, Annemarie
- 2 large (about 2 lb) beefsteak tomatoes
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tbsp thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
- 2 oz parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 425F.
- Slice the tomatoes into ½ inch thick slices. Layer the tomatoes in a casserole dish which is large enough that each tomato slice is partially exposed. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over the tomatoes. Then sprinkle on ½ tsp of kosher salt, 1 tbsp of thyme leaves, and the basil leaves. Cover the dish tightly with foil and bake for 15 minutes.
- While the tomatoes are baking, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a medium skillet over low heat. Add the garlic and ½ tsp of kosher salt, and saute until the garlic is fragrant and softened, 2-3 minutes. Add the breadcrumbs and increase the heat to medium. Cook, stirring frequently, until the crumbs are lightly browned, 5-7 minutes. Stir in the parmesan cheese and remaining thyme leaves.
- Take the tomatoes out of the oven and top them with the breadcrumb mixture. Bake the gratin uncovered for 10 minutes. Serve.
Use only fresh breadcrumbs in this gratin. You need the coarser texture and the softness of fresh breadcrumbs.
Don't let the tomato slices overlap too much since you want some of breadcrumb topping on each slice.