Heirloom Tomato Gratin


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.

Post a Comment

97 Comments

  1. HoneyB 1

    This looks absolutely delicious! Congrats on the new project with David’s Life Magazine!

    Reply
  2. WOW !! What can’t you do ? Mom to Hooligans, vintner, comedienne , writer, wife, cook, blogger….congratulations on your new venture ! I am sure my Hubby will be checking out the new recipes in Davis Life Mag. and the recipe posted today. Farmers’ Markets do provide amazing variety for taste and eating. Thanks ! KathyB.

    Reply
  3. Helen 3

    Many congratulations on your magazine writing venture! Your gratin also looks very pretty and light.

    Reply
  4. CONGRATULATIONS! Well done Cathy! I’m really happy for you.

    But jealous also. Heirloom tomatoes? Boo hoo for southern hemisphere Winter. 😉

    Reply
  5. ntsc 5

    Congrats! what do you do with your spare time?

    I walk past a Farmer’s Market on thursdays in NYC and our local greengrocer has produce labeled local/non-local.

    Reply
  6. Seriously, is there ANYTHING you can’t do woman??! You’re making the rest of us look lazy. Cut it out! 😉

    Congrats. – – I am very, very proud of you! Don’t forget little old me when you’re famous and having David Duchovny over for dinner, alright??

    Reply
  7. That recipe looks fabulous. Congrats on the writing gig. I’m sure it’s the beginning of a lot of wonderful things to come for you!

    Reply
  8. i am swooning…i lurve tomatoes. i want to lick my computer screen. lol.

    Reply
  9. Kate 9

    Looks absolutely wonderful! I love heirloom tomatoes. I am so excited for you about your new project with Davis Life. I’ve subscribed, and gone to the site to visit and am so impressed with your writing, your photographs, and just everything! Congratulations, Cathy!!

    Reply
  10. Amanda 10

    That looks so so so so great. I have piles of tomatoes. Thanks for the new idea.

    Reply
  11. Congratulations and great article in Davis Life!
    The tomatoes look delicious just plain. I’ve never seen the green striped one. I’d love to try one still warm from the sun right off the vine.
    The dish looks delicious, also. I’ve never eaten anything like that before, I may have to try it.

    Reply
  12. Tipper 12

    Congrats on the new gig!!

    Reply
  13. Congratulations Cathy! It’s so exciting that you have an oppotunity to show your best stuff!
    Now if only I liked tomatoes…. I feel like I’m missing out on one of the best things about summer!

    Reply
  14. sharon 14

    Congrats on the new gig! I love all the colors in this dish. Being the only tomato lover in the house, I’d have to gobble this one up myself. Not that I’d complain :0

    Reply
  15. Erinn 15

    This looks divine! I can’t wait to try your version. I made this dish once (another recipe obviosly) and it was incredibly disapointing.
    Thanks for this version, my hope is restored. Goodness, how I love heirloom tomatoes!

    Reply
  16. Leah Q 16

    This dish looks fantastic…I have a farmers market right around the corner form me on Saturdays – I even asked them to provide me with green tomatoes tomorrow – so I must make sure to go and buy some – got to have my fried green tomatoes! (my own plants are a little shy on the production)

    and super congrats to your new ‘job’ – your high quality photos warrant such recognition – proud of you GF, simply proud! Brava!

    Reply
  17. Mike 17

    First off, congrats on the magazine gig! That’s awesome news!

    As for the tomatoes, I love the splash of color in this dish. It sounds like a really delicious way to enjoy the summer crop.

    Reply
  18. This looks delicious! I’ll email this to my mom so she can cook it for me next time I’m visiting. And now, I have to brag a minute. My dad has over 500 tomato plants growing this summer. I grew up eating tomatoes, right off the vine. Nobody grows them better.

    Reply
  19. Rayrena 19

    That looks scrumptious! I just read your post about the perfect brisket and these sound good together!

    Reply
  20. Harmony 20

    Congrats on the magazine project!! I look forward to checking it out. This dish of course looks amazing.

    Reply
  21. krysta 21

    congrats! what exciting news and it couldn’t happen to a better person…

    i know i said i was a potato ho but i am also a closet potato ho.

    Reply
  22. krysta 22

    that was suppose to be tomato ho! i need a cup of tea.

    Reply
  23. Your food pictures always make me feel gluttonous!

    Reply
  24. Yum!

    Reply
  25. Barbie with a T 25

    I am trying this one tonight! Looks absolutely delicious. I also subscribed to TheDavismagazine.com. I don’t want to miss any of your recipes!

    Reply
  26. Congratulations!!! They picked the right person for the job for sure! I’ll be watching for your recipes :o)

    Reply
  27. Marcy 27

    Wow, I’m not a tomato lover but I would surely try this dish! It is absolutely gorgeous!
    Congratulations on the magazine hookup! I will go check it out later!
    Have a great day!

    Reply
  28. Looks yummy delicious!

    I really LOVE warm, cooked tomatoes. Fresh raw ones are pretty good too, but something about cooked tomatoes. I love even simply cutting them in half, sprinkling with salt & pepper & tossing them on the grill. um, um good…

    Reply
  29. ELRA 29

    Cathy,
    Delicious recipe! when I open my lap top this morning, my husband who sat next to me in a sofa, asked “what’s that, that’s yours?”
    me: Oh No, it’s Noble pig!
    Husband: That’s look good
    me: Ok, I’ll make it today

    Btw, I showed your blog to him, he read and commented how funny you are. He also read your post related to wine, and couldn’t stop laughing about the word “GOYIM”, I didn’t understand it what that word mean. He explained it to me, LOL. I AM A GOYIM TOO!

    Reply
  30. Suzette 30

    That is GORGEOUS! Everyone in my office noticed what I was viewing and said the same thing! I live near a farmer’s market. I’ve got to try to find the right tomatoes to make it this weekend. If I can’t find the heirlooms, I think I’m going to make it anyway! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  31. Suzette 31

    Oh, I almost for got…

    CONGRATS on the new venture!

    Reply
  32. Congrats on the magazine! I can’t think of a better place for you, that’s awesome. Next up: world domination! :)

    (oh, and, as usual, YUM.)

    Reply
  33. Cathy C 33

    The colors just leap off the screen – This really looks great and what a yummy summer dish!! Congrats on the magazine that is wonderful!!

    Cheers
    Cathy
    http://www.wheresmydamnanswer.com

    Reply
  34. rachel 34

    Congratulations on the magazine gig. That’s fantastic and exciting!

    Oh mah word woman! This looks amazing! I can’t wait to make this!!

    Reply
  35. Really great accomplishment Cathy. Those tomotoes just blow me away. I’m an heirloom fiend and these photos just make my day.

    –Marc

    Reply
  36. tj 36

    …Holy Moly Sweet Mother Of ‘Materville – I’m in love! THAT looks absolutely delish’!

    …Congrat’s on the new food writer project! Justly deserved! :o)

    …Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe. I will def’ be trying this one too!

    …Blessings… :o)

    Reply
  37. Anna 37

    Ooh, I started drooling when I saw that picture! I have been eating a tomato sandwich every day this week for lunch, so I’ll have to try your recipe to switch it up a bit.

    Reply
  38. Jules 38

    My Sicilian grandpa would make this type of dish often..mmmmmm…great summertime dish!

    Reply
  39. Lo! 39

    Congrats on your new project! What a great gig.

    Heirloom tomatoes haven’t quite made it to our area yet, but I’m eagerly awaiting them. In fact, I have a couple of plants in my backyard that I’m hoping will be good producers! There is nothing like the flavor of a fresh, sweet, heirloom tomato.

    Reply
  40. Neen 40

    Super exciting about the food writing gig. Is it just food or will you also be doing wine?

    Reply
  41. Paula 41

    Wow, these photos are absolutely fantasic! I love step by step instructions, too. Congrats on the the magazine; how exciting! Hope you will still blog here as well!

    Reply
  42. That’s so awesome that you’ll be writing for the magazine! I love the tomatoes gratin– baked tomatoes was one of the first dishes I ever cooked and the tomatoe to topping ratio was always a bit dissapointing. Gratin totally solves that issue.

    Reply
  43. I’m off to the store to buy some fresh tomatoes — YUM! But first I’m gonna pop over and sign up for your column. ; ) I drove right past your toad-tunneled town yesterday. I waved. ~~

    Reply
  44. This REALLY makes me wish I liked tomatoes.

    Reply
  45. Deborah 45

    Although I don’t have any heirloom tomatoes growing in the garden, I’ll have plenty of other kinds to make this dish with!

    Reply
  46. heather 46

    that sounds ymmuy! i’ll have to buy some tomatoes tomorrow.

    Reply
  47. ALF 47

    I love, love, love homegrown tomatoes. I am (not so) patiently waiting for mine to ripen!

    Reply
  48. Ooh, this IS a great side dish! Or even a main dish, for a light lunch or supper. I’ll be making this, although not with heirloom or homegrown tomatoes. Next year, maybe next year, for our tomatoes. . .A girl can hope, right?

    Reply
  49. Laura 49

    WOW!!!! I am thrilled you stopped by my blog… I am sorry it was a bad day around here, not all my posts are downers like that but until we have deed in hand I am afraid things will be a bit ugly.
    That tomato dish looks good and since we get fresh onions straight out of the ground in Vidiala :) I am soo spoiled… I have never seen some of those tomatoes though… I wonder if they grow here in the HOT deep south?
    I wonder how easy it would to be to make for one as I just dont think my weird people would let anything so exotic pass their deep fried southern lips!
    Thank you again for popping in to visit I hope you come back (in your spare time)
    Laura

    Reply
  50. Familia 50

    We had the most beautiful purple tomatoes in our csa delivery last week. And they were delicious. This sounds like the perfect way to prepare. I hope we get more!

    Reply
  51. pam 51

    Congrats on the magazine! As for the tomatoes, I’m speechless. Seriously!

    Reply
  52. Ann 52

    Congratulations…! and lord that gratin is GORGEOUS!

    Reply
  53. Check it out! Looks fantabulous! Have a grand weekend!

    Reply
  54. Well done! And can you please fed ex me some of that. Being on the road with two 17 year olds is hard on my tastebuds.

    Reply
  55. This is one recipe that I will skip. I am so allergic to tomatoes that I felt like I was swelling up just looking at the pictures.

    Reply
  56. What a cool gig Cathy! Sounds like it’s going to be a lot of fun. The recipe looks really great…we have a great farmers market in Boston that I haven’t been to in years but I may have to go to get some tomatoes!

    Reply
  57. Cool gig! Congratulations. I checked it out and it looks great. I like the way you make cooking accessible to everyone by showing the ingredients and some step-by-step instructions. Same feel as your blog.

    Reply
  58. Lorena 58

    Congratulations on the mag gig!
    And the gratin looks wonderful. I LOVE a gratin.

    Reply
  59. bunny 59

    First , congratulations on writing for the Davis Magazine, you will be perfect for this. Second, I love this recipe!! tomatoes are my favorite vegetable!! I can’t wait to try this!!!

    Reply
  60. What a great way to use all those beautiful farmers’ market tomatoes. I love the idea of this and can’t wait to try it. Congrats on the food writing gig!

    Reply
  61. dlyn 61

    Congrat on the new endeavor and thanks for this recipe – it looks SO good.

    Reply
  62. I love all your dishes! This one looks so tasty!

    Reply
  63. Congrats on the new gig – how exciting! I love all the colors in this gratin – yet one more good excuse for me to get out to the farmer’s market tomorrow (for the first time in over 8 mos!!)

    Reply
  64. Wow! Love the colors. What a perfect summer dish!

    Congrats on the new gig!

    ~Traca

    Reply
  65. grace 65

    those tomatoes are glorious! finally, i’m motivated to visit the nearest farmer’s market. it’s 45 minutes away, but it’ll be worth it if i come away with some beauties like those.
    and kudos to you on your new project–good luck!

    Reply
  66. Cassie 66

    Oh yummmmm!!!!!! My stomach is growling!

    Reply
  67. Anna 67

    Cathy, congratulations on the food writer job!

    I can’t wait to hear your opinion on the wheat free peanut butter cookies. Good thing you had rice flour on hand! If you change your mind and want to make the ones with flour (still vegan), those were good too.

    Reply
  68. Sandie 68

    Cathy – this looks fantastic and your photos are lovely as always. Best of luck with your new project!

    Reply
  69. Well, these photos have done it. They’re spectacular. The gratin is as well, obviously. I like the slightly unique citrus approach to this dish.

    Reply
  70. That looks wonderful! And congratulations, Cathy! That’s just wonderful!

    Yep, with that egg of mine, I have “soldiers” – it’s a piece of toast cut into 4 or 5 strips that I then dip into the egg. Yum!

    Reply
  71. OMG–those tomatoes are gorgeous!! I might try and hit the farmer’s market today and see what I can find.

    Big congratulations on your magazine writing!! That’s great! I will be sure to check it out!!

    Reply
  72. Wow – that looks amazing – how is it that it doesn’t get totally mushy when the tomatoes lose all their water?

    Reply
  73. Congrats on you new gig! Can I be your guinea pig?

    Reply
  74. Shaye 74

    I love you, please marry me.

    GAH! I’m going to the fruit stand immediately after church tomorrow to pick up some heirloom tomatoes. Until then I’ll just keep wiping the drool off my chin.

    Reply
  75. That looks so elegant! I really need to go to one of our farmer’s markets. They’re just at such weird times.

    Reply
  76. I love heirlooms, too. Can’t resist them. And the tart? Mmmm…especially with that crunchy topping. Except I’m incorrigible and would throw the garlic clove in, instead of rubbing. Can’t suppress the urge. And congrats on the gig. Woo-hoo!

    Reply
  77. Raina 77

    Thanks Cathy for the magazine link, I love the pancake recipe in there and will be making them tomorrow with my kids.

    Reply
  78. Liz C. 78

    I am such a total sucker for colorful food and this looks absolutely scrumptious! Besides, it’s also a great healthy alternative to fried green tomatoes or grilled tomatoes. Bravo!

    Reply
  79. Heck yeah, I’m subscribing! Congrats!!! WHERE do you find the time to fit that in?

    Reply
  80. melly~ 80

    absolutely gorgeous! and tasty too!

    Reply
  81. Dragon 81

    My mouth is watering just looking at that dish. Amazing. Stunning. Wow. The tomatoes are gorgeous!

    Reply
  82. Kevin 82

    That looks really tasty!

    Reply
  83. Pam 83

    Oh how I love fried tomatoes but can’t bring myself to actually make them because they are so unhealthy. This is a perfect solution. It’s beautiful and looks amazing. Nice job!

    Reply
  84. Leslie 84

    WOW..that is a bunch of different flavors going in that dish!!!It looks VERY tasty!!

    Reply
  85. melissa 85

    Congratulations on the magazine venture. I read through it and you started off beautifully.

    And I am SO making this tomato dish, especially after just discovering how wonderful heirlooms are.

    Reply
  86. Kim 86

    Fabulous Cathy on both the writing and this recipe, delish.

    Reply
  87. This is such a great time of year isn’t it? I just want to run to the farmer’s market all of the time so I can get hte tomatoes to make stuff like this. I’m inspired yet again for my next dinner party!

    Reply
  88. Elle 88

    I want this now! And congrats on the food writing–you’re perfect for it!

    Reply
  89. I love anything gratin (sweet to savory). Looking good recipe…

    BTW, I love Vidalia onion ring (thin slice) Just dust in mixture of 1 part corn meal/2 part AP flour & fry at 300 degree til golden brown (stored in air seal tub up to several day).

    Reply
  90. Well, first – congrats on the gig!

    Second – yum! I can almost taste it!

    Reply
  91. magpie 91

    Those sound (and look) delicious.

    Reply
  92. kim 92

    Yummers! This sounds absolutely wonderful, with very simple, true flavours. I love it – and it looks great too!

    Reply
  93. this looks amazing and really original–love th eaddition of orange juice honey and thyme!!
    have been looking for a dish for a potluck on sunday and this is it sister! thanks!

    Reply
  94. I really LOVE warm, cooked tomatoes. Fresh raw ones are pretty good too, but something about cooked tomatoes. I love even simply cutting them in half, sprinkling with salt & pepper & tossing them on the grill. um, um good…

    Reply
  95. Jake 95

    Congrats on the magazine project!! I look forward to checking it out. This dish of course looks amazing.

    Reply
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