Monday, September 13, 2010

hot potato

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.


Pesky Cat Designs said...

As soon as the weather gets cooler here I will have to try that recipe. It looks delicious!

Just wondering what I could substitute the cream with since my boyfriend is lactose intolerant. He can eat hard cheese but not milk and cream. In any case, I am sure this recipe will be good even without the cream!

abigail said...

you'd need to substitute something because you need the liquid.

But there are lots of vegan cream substitutes out there. I've heard really good things about MimicCreme.

you could also probably use some vegetable broth instead.

Let me know how it goes!

Michelle said...

Holy.Mother! I gotta go, I gotta go eat some potatoes...have...turned...into....potato zombie.....arg.....

rebecca said...

this looks great. thanks! though i'm off tomatoes for a bit. last night i had a tomato in the blender explosion fiasco. so i'm mad at them. (tomatoes that is). :)

have a good monday.

Ana Degenaar said...

Oh my! this looks amazing! I HAVE TO make it!
Thanks for the recipe
♥Happy Monday

Karena said...

Mmmmm Yummy and the weather is beginning to turn here in Kansas City!

I have a New Giveaway from the French Basketeer I think you will love!

Art by Karena

Tracy said...

Gorgeous. I think I could eat at least half of it myself :)

Eva / Sycamore Street Press said...

Yum. This gratin looks delicious, too. Too bad our tomatoes haven't even started to come on yet, and it's already starting to get cooler! There are so many green ones on the vine.

Tanya (a Taste of T) said...

That looks scrumptious!

Tiffany Kadani said...

This looks absolutely delicious! More Monday food blogging, please! Every single dish you have featured I have loved. Yummy!

Jaime @ laviejaime said...

This looks so yummy but def beyond my cooking skills! lol :)

Unknown said...

mmm! I love potatos, this looks great :)

ps. I'll be posting photos from the Renegade craft fair in the next couple days, it was so much fun!! :)

Elisa said...

I'm a hot potato kinda girl. I just love papas fritas. yum! I have pounds and pounds of organic potatoes from grandma's garden that I can't cook them fast enough. I love your recipe, I will have to make it for my friends this weekend.

meemsnyc said...

Oh my goodness. I am totally drooling, this looks so good! Yummy.

Joyti said...

Wow, your gratin looks gorgeous! And so delicious too.

Brandi said...

Abigail, I love you! You've just inspired my dinner for tomorrow night. Tomatoes and potatoes are two things I will most definitely be able to find at the farmer's market tomorrow. And it'll be much better than the yogurt and watermelon dinner I had tonight (not together -- I couldn't manage to cook after such a long flight).

BonBon Rose Girls Kristin said...

Tomatoes AND potatoes in one delicious dish?? OMG!

abigail said...

Brandi, you'd be amazed to learn how often I have scrambled eggs for dinner! Or raisin bran. It's sad really.
Can't wait to hear how your gratin turns out!

tawny. said...

this looks soo good!
i'm going to have to try it.
i've been a little obsessed with anything and everything
with tomatoes & basil in it lately :)

bronwyn said...

This looks delicious. I love gratins. And you're right - absolutely perfect for this time of year. :)

Prairie Cat said...

Oh wow, I am going to file this recipe away for when my second round of tomatoes start coming in from the garden. It looks delicious and seems like it would be super simple to make. Thanks for posting the recipe!

Karyn said...

yum, that's such a good end of summer recipe.

Shannon of HAPPINESS IS said...

Girl I'm totally making this dish this weekend. Thanks for the yummy inspiration! Casseroles = autumn and I can't wait to get all cozied up with this meal :) xo

Kala said...

That looks so delicious - perfect for an autumn meal!!

Julia said...

Amazing! This was on my list to make this week and your pictures look delicious!

Colleen said...

This looks divine! I want to come to your house for dinner.

Michelle {lovely little things} said...

This sounds delicious!

amy said...

Pesky cat- My husband and I made a vegan version of this tonight and it was sublime. We'll post a vegan version to our blog next week- stay tuned.