Jacques Pepin writes: "This tasty tomato gratin is a great accompaniment to eggs -- poached, fried or omelets -- and is good with poached or steamed fish or shellfish."
- 2 pounds ripe plum tomatoes
- 3 slices white bread (about 2 1/2 ounces)
- 1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh chives
- 2 teaspoons coarsely chopped thyme leaves
- 1 tablespoon good olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Submerge the tomatoes in a large saucepan of boiling water for 30 to 45 seconds, then drain. When they are cool enough to handle, peel them and dicard the skins. Halve the tomatoes horizontally, press out the seeds, and cut the flesh into 1-inch pieces.
Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Arrange the bread slices on a cookie sheet and bake for 5 to 7 minutes, until nicely browned on both sides. (There is no need to turn the bread; it will brown on both sides.) When cool enough to handle, cut or break the slices into 1/2-inch pieces. Put the bread pieces in a blender with the chives and thyme and blend for 30 to 45 seconds, until smooth. Add the oil and blend for 5 seconds.
Melt the butter in a saucepan and cook it over medium to high heat until browned to a hazelnut color. Add the tomato, salt and pepper. Cook over high heat for 2 to 3 minutes or until the mixture is hot and has a relatively soft consistency.
Heat the broiler. Pour the tomatoes into a gratin dish or baking dish large enough so that the tomatoes lie about 3/4-inch thick in the dish. Top with the crumb mixture and broil about 5 inches from the heat source for 5 to 7 minutes or until the crumb topping is nicely browned. Serve immediately.
From "Fast Food My Way," by Jacques Pepin (Houghton Mifflin, 2004).
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