Monday, August 12, 2013

August tomatoes

August.  Tomatoes.  Gratin.  Crostini. 

A great way to enjoy the wonderful tomatoes in the markets this month.  I picked up a few pounds of beautiful red and yellow tomatoes at a farm stand while driving across the Delmarva Peninsula this weekend, on my way from Stone Harbor, NJ to Annapolis MD.

The first thing I did after returning home was to make a quick Sunday supper of tomato and mozzarella crostini.  Magnificent.  These were the yellow tomatoes -- to my taste, quite different in character from red tomatoes.  Sweet, fruitier.

I toasted some good Italian bread, then rubbed the slices with a clove of raw garlic (you can see the garlic left after the rubbing in the photo).  Plopped a thick slice of tomato on top of each slice, seasoned with salt and pepper, then topped with a slice of fresh mozzarella and a good glug-glug of Spanish olive oil.

You could, if you had some lying about, put a dollop of basil pesto on each slice of bread or atop the mozzarella, but I didn't have any handy, so forewent the pesto.  Next time.  I need to make some pesto anyway with the bounty of basil in the garden.  

I made a tomato gratin as a side dish for Monday's dinner, to accompany oven-roasted sausage and peppers. 

2 tomatoes, sliced 1/4" thick (about 10 slices total)  (I used one red and one yellow tomato.)
1 Tbp butter
1 Tbp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 1/2 c panko bread crumbs
salt and pepper
3 Tbp grated parmigiano or pecorino cheese
2 Tbp chopped fresh basil
2 tsp thyme

Melt the butter and olive oil in a small skillet.  Add crushed garlic and saute 30 seconds.  Add bread crumbs, salt and pepper, and stir for a few minutes until very lightly -- but not fully -- browned, and the crumbs are completely coated with the oil and butter mixture.  Add basil, thyme, cheese.  Mix well.  Set aside. 

Arrange about 1/3 of the crumbs in the bottom of a greased gratin dish.  Bake in a 375°F oven for 10 minutes until golden brown.  Cool slightly.

Arrange half the tomato slices in the gratin dish.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cover with another 1/3 of the crumbs.  Add another layer of tomatoes.  Cover with the remaining 1/3 of the crumbs.  Drizzle with a bit of olive oil.

Bake in a 375°F oven for about 20 minutes.

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