Saturday, July 16, 2011

Tomato Basil Gratin

This time of year, I am all about tomato salad. Tomato, Goat Cheese and Basil Salad, Grilled Eggplant, Tomato and Ricotta Salata Salad and Marinated Tomato and Brie Salad are some of our favorites. But, when this month's Fine Cooking magazine included a recipe for Gratinéed Tomatoes with Asiago and Fresh Herbs, I took one look at the photo and knew what I'd be making next.

Of course, I had to change it up a bit -- parsley and thyme are fine, but what is a tomato without basil? I've made this twice this week, once with Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and once with Pecorino Romano. The two gratins were equally delicious.

Tomato Basil Gratin

Ingredients:
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (divided)
  • 3 large ripe tomatoes, cored and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup Panko
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese
Directions:
  1. Position an oven rack about 6 inches from the broiler and preheat the broiler.
  2. Swirl one tablespoon of the olive oil in a 9X13 glass or ceramic baking pan.
  3. Layer the tomato slices in the pan, overlapping slightly.
  4. Sprinkle the tomato slices with the salt, pepper and basil.
  5. Mix together the Panko, Pecorino Romano cheese and two tablespoons of the olive oil.
  6. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture evenly over the tomatoes and drizzle with the last tablespoon of olive oil.
  7. Broil the tomatoes for 2-3 minutes, watching carefully, until the topping is golden brown.
Yield:4-6 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 3 minutes

Such a simple combination, but what great textures and flavors -- juicy tomatoes with a crunchy, slightly salty topping, swimming in a pool of buttery olive oil. Yum! And it couldn't be quicker or easier. Given that my kids don't care for tomatoes, it is not surprising that they were not wild about it. They went to the movies with friends last night so I made a half recipe of the gratin for our rare dinner for two. The tomato basil gratin was the perfect side dish for Scallops Provencal served over thin spaghetti. With a glass of white wine, it was a perfect summer meal.

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