Monday, September 13, 2010
I have been very neglectful of my Monday food blogging, but in part because I am so inspired by Brandi's wonderful new food blog I'm gonna try and be a bit better.
So, here's one of my favorite recipes ever: Tomato/Potato Gratin. It is perfect for this time of year when the days are getting cooler and shorter but the tomatoes in the garden are still coming. (Yup, they're still coming.)
It takes some time to make, but it's worth it and beautiful and none of the steps are difficult. Another nice thing about it is that it's one of those dishes that is even better reheated, so you can make it the day before a dinner party, reheat it and have it ready when your guests arrive.
I've made something similar with potatoes, rutabagas, parsnips and carrots that is delicious too. I'll post that recipe when the root vegetables from the garden are ready. But for now:
Tomato Potato Gratin
5 tablespoons olive oil
9 cups thinly sliced yellow onions
2 tablespoons thyme
2 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 Yukon Gold potatoes
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 1/2 pounds tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped basil
salt and pepper
First step is to carmelize the onions. Heat 5 tablespoons of the olive oil in a big skillet over high heat and add the onions and one tablespoon of the thyme, a little salt and pepper. Cook for 5 or 6 minutes, stirring often.
Turn the heat down to medium, add the butter and cooked for another 15 minutes, still stirring frequently. Turn down the heat to low and cook for another 10 or 15 minutes (still stirring) until the onions are super sweet and a nice golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
Preheat your oven to 350º.
Thinly slice the potatoes and toss them in a bowl with the rest of the thyme, the cream and some salt and pepper.
Thinly slice the tomatoes and arrange them on a big platter or cookie sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Now for the fun part, assembling the gratin. Spread half the onions in the bottom of the pan.
Alternating them, arrange a layer of tomatoes and potatoes, sprinkle with half the basil and drizzle with a little bit of the cream the potatoes. It's ok if this first layer is kinda messy because you're going to put another layer on top of it so go ahead and practice making it look nice and use the homely looking tomato slices and potato butts.
Spread the rest of the onions (it's easiest to add them in little clumps) and use a spatula to scrape out and add all the juicy stuff left in the bottom of the pan.
Make another layer of the tomatoes and potatoes, making sure it's pretty (it will still taste good even if it's not!). Add all the cream from the potatoes and any tomato juice that's left on the plate and sprinkle with the basil and some more salt and pepper.
Smush the whole thing down with your hands so that the cream rises up and coats the top layer. Cover the whole thing with aluminum foil and bake for 2 hours (you read that right, 2 hours) until the potatoes are tender.
Uncover the pan, (watch out for the steam!) turn the oven up to 450º and bake for another 30 to 40 minutes until the cream has thickened and the top has browned.
Remove from the oven and let set for 5-10 minutes before serving.