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CRUSTY TOMATO GRATIN

Ingredients:

Crust:

3 slices sandwich bread

1/3 cup fresh chives, minced

2 teaspoons fresh thyme, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

Tomatoes:

2 pounds plum tomatoes, peeled and seeded

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

Directions:

Crust: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Toast the bread for 5 - 7 minutes, until browned.  Remove and when cool enough to handle, break the slices into 1/2" pieces into the workbowl of a food processor.  Break up the bread into coarse crumbs with a pulsing action.  Add the herbs and continue pulsing until they are incorporated.  Drizzle on the olive oil and run the machine another 5 seconds to mix.  Reserve.

 

Tomatoes: Score the bottoms of the tomatoes and submerge them for 30 seconds in boiling water.  Place them immediately in an ice water bath.  When cool enough to handle, peel the tomatoes, halve them horizontally and squeeze out the seeds.  Cut the tomatoes into 1" cubes.

 

Heat the oil and butter in a skillet large enough to hold the tomatoes in a single layer.  When the butter has browned, add the tomato pieces and cook on medium high heat for 2 to 3 minutes coating the tomatoes with fat and reducing juices.  Off the heat, season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

 

Preheat the broiler and set a rack 6" from the flame.  Butter a 2" deep gratin mold that the tomatoes will fill to a depth of 3/4".  Add the crumb mixture on top of the tomatoes and broil for 5  minutes, until the crust is browned.

 

Adapted from Fast Food My Way by Jacques Pepin