Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Corn and tomato gratin
I was over at Pinch My Salt recently, where I learned about a cool blog event called Summer Fest, which celebrates a different summer vegetable or fruit each week. Obviously, this fits in really well with the focus of my blog, and I'm excited about cooking and posting with the Summer Fest themes in mind. This week's theme is corn - corn is at its seasonal peak right now, and I've been cooking a lot with it (as you might have noticed).
Of all the corn recipes I've posted so far, this one really stands out. With corn, tomatoes, and basil all baked together into a bubbly gratin, this is the perfect taste of summer. I found this recipe in Gourmet Today, which is probably the best cookbook I own. Whatever kind of recipe I'm looking for, I can always count on finding something good in this book.
This is not a heavy gratin - the vegetables really shine here, and aren't at all overpowered by the milk and cream. The amount of cheese is enough to contribute good flavor but not so much that you feel like taking a nap after eating it. We ate this for dinner with a green salad on the side, but it would also be a nice accompaniment to any grilled meat.
Corn and tomato gratin
Adapted from Gourmet Today
1 1/2 lb red or yellow tomatoes (about 4 medium), cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cups fresh corn kernels (the recipe suggests 6-8 ears of corn for this, but I only needed 4)
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 cups fresh bread crumbs (preferably from an 8-inch piece of day-old baguette, including crust)
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup finely grated Parmagiano-Reggiano cheese
3/4 stick (6 tbs) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Sprinkle tomato slices on both sides with salt and pepper. Arrange slices on a cooling rack set over a baking sheet, and let drain for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, mix corn, milk, cream, and 1/4 tsp salt in a 2-quart heavy saucepan. Bring to a simmer over high heat, then reduce heat and partially cover saucepan. Simmer until corn is tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and leave uncovered until needed.
With a rack in the upper third of the oven, preheat oven to 375 deg F. Toss together bread crumbs, basil, cheese, 3/4 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper.
Arrange 1/3 of tomato slices in a shallow 2-quart baking dish, cover with 1/3 of bread crumb mixture, and dot with 1/3 of butter. Ladle half of corn mixture into dish, and then repeat the layering exactly as before (use the same amounts - you will finish the corn mixture, but not the other things). Place remaining tomatoes on top, cover with remaining bread crumbs, and dot with remaining butter.
Bake uncovered until top is lightly browned and gratin is bubbly, 40-45 minutes. Cool for about 15 minutes before serving. This is best served right after the 15 minute cooling, but is still pretty good one day later.