Now, let's talk Farmer's Market. Have you been to one lately? If you have, then maybe you have been as taken as I have with the Heirloom tomatoes. They get me every year. The red-orange, yellow, greens, striped and solid colors are so striking. They call to me from their rustic farm baskets.
I love preparing these tomatoes so many different ways with lots of different toppings. However, one of my favorite summer indulgences is an Heirloom Tomato Gratin. I love the varying colors and the textural changes with the soft tomatoes and the crunchy bread crumbs.
I have made many different versions over the years and recently saw this one. I changed a few things up to suit my tastes but have no idea what publication it originally appeared in since I ripped out the page.
It's the perfect light, summer side-dish. You really have to try this, you won't be disappointed.
Here's what you'll need: Heirloom tomatoes, fresh bread crumbs, orange zest and fresh orange juice, sweet onion, honey, fresh thyme, extra-virgin olive oil, garlic, pecorino-Romano cheese, salt and pepper.
First, you'll want to chop a large vidalia or other sweet onion and slice 4 pounds of heirloom tomatoes thickly.
Prepare an oven-safe, shallow, 2 quart baking dish by slicing one clove of garlic and rubbing the cut side vigorously all over the bottom and sides of the pan. Then paint inside of the dish with 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil.
Add 1-1/2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil to a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes; until translucent, not browned. Remove from heat; stir in 1/2 teaspoon orange zest, 3 Tablespoons fresh orange juice, 2 teaspoons honey and 1-1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme.
Add half of the onion mixture to the bottom of the baking dish and top with half the tomatoes, overlapping each other. Season the bottom half of the tomatoes with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 3/4 teaspoon pepper. Top with the other half of the onion mixture, the rest of the tomatoes (overlapped) and remaining salt and pepper.
In a separate bowl mix together, 2 cups bread crumbs (I used a ciabatta loaf that I put in the food processor), 1-1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme, 1/2 cup pecorino-Romano cheese and 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil. Mix until all the crumbs are moistened. Add more oil if need be.
Sprinkle and tuck the bread crumb mixture over the top layer of tomatoes. Bake in a 425 degree oven for 24 minutes or until the crumbs are golden and the juices are bubbling.
Serve hot or warm.
Do you see those colors?
And the crunchy topping? It's pretty addicting.
Heirloom Tomato Gratin
1 clove garlic, cut in half
3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large Vidalia or other sweet onion
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
3 Tablespoons fresh orange juice
2 teaspoons honey
3 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
4 lbs mixed heirloom tomatoes, thickly sliced
1-1/2 teaspoons each salt and pepper, divided
2 cups fresh bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Pecorino-Romano cheese
Prepare an oven-safe, shallow, 2 quart baking dish by rubbing the inside with garlic. Paint the dish with 1-1/2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil.
Heat 1-1/2 Tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook for about five minutes or until onions are translucent, not brown. Remove from heat, stir in orange zest, fresh orange juice, honey and 1-1/2 teaspoons thyme.
Add half of the onion mixture to the bottom of the baking dish and half the tomatoes. Season with half the salt and pepper and add the rest of the onion mixture, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Overlap the tomato slices to fit.
In a separate bowl, mix together bread crumbs, 2 Tablespoons oil, 1-1/2 teaspoons thyme and cheese. Mix until all crumbs are moistened.
Bake at 425 degrees for 24 minutes or until crumbs are golden and juices are bubbling.