Tomato Gratin with Heirloom Tomatoes
If you were ever wondering what to do with lots of heirloom tomatoes, turning them into this heirloom tomato gratin would quite possibly be one of the most delicious ideas. This gratin is by far one of my most favorite late summer indulgences, right alongside a large bowl of Panzanella.
If these red-orange, yellow, green, striped and solid color tomatoes have been calling to you from the farmer’s market or your local farm stands, grab them and make this flavorful side dish.
Since we eat with our eyes first, the varying colors of heirloom tomatoes and the textural changes this gratin lends (soft tomatoes and crunchy bread crumbs) this dish is a virtual mouth party if I’m being honest. The Pecorino Romano, orange zest, honey and thyme really puts it over the top.
Don’t let summer pass without making this tomato gratin recipe at least once.
Heirloom Tomato Gratin Ingredients
Fill up your market basket with an array of beautiful heirloom tomatoes and make this lovely tomato gratin with lots of other garden fresh ingredients.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- garlic – fresh garlic to rub on the walls of your baking dish
- extra virgin olive oil – you can also use regular olive oil if you prefer the stronger flavor
- Vidalia sweet onion – or other sweet onion. Sweet onions have a very mild flavor which is the perfect accompaniment for this recipe
- orange zest – from a fresh orange
- orange juice – preferably from fresh oranges
- honey – grab some from your farmer’s market
- heirloom tomatoes – get a variety of colors
- salt and pepper
- fresh thyme – don’t leave this out
- bread crumbs – I like making my own with stale bread and the food processor, but you can also use store bought
- Pecorino-Romano cheese– my favorite blend for flavor, but feel free to use Parmesan or other Italian cheese
With all these fresh ingredients you can guarantee this is a delicious gratin.
How To Make Tomato Gratin
GET THE FULL (PRINTABLE) HEIRLOOM TOMATO GRATIN RECIPE BELOW. ENJOY!
What Are Heirloom Tomatoes?
Not only do they taste better than any regular tomatoes you can find at the grocery store, they are also “breed true”. Breed true refers to the seeds of heirloom tomatoes as they can be saved to grow more of the same tomatoes year after year.
Heirloom tomatoes are a variety of tomato that have been grown without crossbreeding for decades. All supermarket tomatoes (hybrids) have been carefully crossbred to have certain characteristics and flavor is rarely at the top of the list.
What I love about heirloom tomatoes is that they have an earthy, almost smoky-sweetness to them. They are definitely less acidic than red tomatoes, more complex and even wine-like when it comes to flavor profile.
Favorite Heirloom Varieties
I went back into my own garden notes to find the heirlooms I’ve grown myself and have really appreciated for their heartiness.
- Brandywine, Sudduth Strain (pink beefsteak)
- Blondkopfchen (yellow cherry)
- Brandywine, OTV (red beefsteak)
- Azoychka (yellow/orange beefsteak)
- Cherokee Chocolate (mahogany beefsteak)
All of these posses those big old-fashioned, robust flavors we all adore in a garden tomato.
Other Summer Recipes You Need To Make
The best summer recipes for your table are available below!
- Coconut Peach Crumble
- Easy Strawberry Shortcake
- Cilantro-Lime Broccoli Slaw
- Red Wine Slushie
- Grilled Spicy Honey Garlic Chicken
- Pavlovas with Summer Berry Sauce
- Late Summer Sautéed Tomatoes
- Fresh Creamed Corn
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Heirloom Tomato Gratin
- 1 clove garlic, sliced in half
- 3-1/2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 large Vidalia or other sweet onion
- 1/2 tsp grated orange zest
- 3 tbsps fresh orange juice
- 2 tsps honey
- 3 tsps fresh thyme, chopped, divided
- 4 lbs mixed heirloom tomatoes, thickly sliced
- 1-1/2 tsps table salt, divided
- 1-1/2 tsps finely ground black pepper, divided
- 2 cups fresh bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup Pecorino-Romano cheese
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- 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 for 24 minutes or until crumbs are golden and juices are bubbling.
- Serve hot or warm.
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