Cherry Tomato & Bread Gratin

Cherry Tomato and Bread GratinThis Sunday’s Chronicle had an article about ‘you pick’ farms in our area, highlighting the wonderful fresh produce and excellent prices to be had by picking your own fruits and vegetables.  It also included recipes from the farmers that highlight their offerings.  There was a delicious looking recipe for a hot tomato and bread salad. They had me at the word tomato, but add a baguette, some basil, garlic, olive oil, and Parmesan, and I’m in love. Happily, Monday, the weather decided to cool down enough (It was 103 (or 108 if you believe the newspaper, which I don’t) on Saturday, and 90 on Sunday….only 74 on Monday) to let me turn the oven on.  Thank you, windy summer fog from the coast! So I roasted a chicken, and made this gratin to go along with it. Ina Garten’s chicken recipe calls for a 425 oven, and this recipe called for 375. I made them shake hands and behave, and set the oven at 400. The result? A moist, delicious chicken, and a super delicious bread salad that we scarfed down quite happily. Definitely a keeper. One word of warning: The recipe says it serves 8. It barely fed 3. YUM.  Photo courtesy of the Chronicle.  I intended to take a picture of mine, but the hoards were getting restless.

This gratin, featuring summer’s burst of new-crop cherry tomatoes, tastes of the season. It’s adapted from Jan Smith at Smith Family Farm in Brentwood*. You can adjust this to your own tastes, adding a little bit of extra garlic or cheese, if desired. Serve this with any grilled or roasted meat. This would go especially well with chicken.

Cherry Tomato & Bread Gratin

  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil + more for greasing the baking dish
  • 5 to 6 cups 1-inch cubed French baguette with crust
  • 4 cups (about 1 1/2 pounds) ripe small cherry tomatoes (various colors if possible)
  • 2 to 3 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese + more, if desired
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Place the rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 375. Oil a 2 1/2- to 3-quart gratin dish.

In a large bowl**, combine the bread cubes, tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, parsley, basil and cheese; add salt and pepper to taste. Scrape the mixture into the prepared baking dish.

Bake for about 30 minutes, until the bread cubes are brown and crisp and the tomatoes tender. Serve warm or at room temperature.

* For those of you who don’t know, and maybe care, there are at least 2 Brentwoods in California. One is a section of Los Angeles/Beverly Hills, where OJ and his ex-wife may or may not have had an ugly run in. The other is about an hour east of San Francisco, and is known for their corn…though if you click here, you’ll wonder why. It’s usually very sweet, good corn, though my father-in-law says nothing beats the corn in Wisconsin that’s so fresh you bring it in from the fields and cook it right then.

** my biggest metal bowl wasn’t big enough, so I used a nice wooden salad bowl, which was.

This entry was posted in Recipes.

3 thoughts on “Cherry Tomato & Bread Gratin

  1. Oh this looks yummy and I bet it went perfect with that roast chicken.

    I need you to give Eric a pep talk about how its not THAT hard to cook dinner almost every night if simple and yummy dishes are made.

    Oh and I should warn you, my dad planted upwards of 30 tomato plants this year of different varieties (Eric bought some specific ones we wanted), including 3 different cherry varieties. We may not always have time to visit, but you might be getting some drive by tomato drop offs come July.

    • That’s the kind of warning I like to get! Yay, tomatoes! I have two plants this year. I didn’t really want them, because our yard doesn’t get enough sun, the dirt is hard, etc. But they were a gift, so I bought two planters and dirt and tomato fertilizer and we’ll see what happens. I’m pretty sure they won’t give me enough tomatoes, so I’ll be thrilled to take whatever you want to drop off our way.

      This dinner was SO easy. Prep the chicken – 5 minutes, including the butter massage it got. Put in oven. Prep the side dish – 10 or more minutes, because I had to dice the bread, slice the tomatoes, slice the garlic, etc. Drink a glass of wine. Put the side dish in the oven when it looked like the chicken had about 1/2 hour to go. Watch an episode of Gilmore Girls. Dinner is served. 🙂

  2. Your father-in-law is right. Further, you get the big pot to a boil before the fastest kid in the family goes out to the garden to pick the corn and dash to the house, strip it as quick as you can and toss it in the pot. Here in CA I learned the trick of turning off the heat once boil is re-established. Cooks more al dente.

    (However, Rex Stout’s gourmand Nero Wolfe decried boiled corn, prefering roasting; he called it “ambrosia.”)

    I loved the tomato/bread gratin recipe, too, and intend to try it.

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