Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Garden insurgency

I was in trouble. The tomato insurgency was gathering steam. Those few cute little starts that seemed so passive and innocent this past spring had risen up and were threatening to take over the garden like some organic insurgency. I had to act, quickly and decisively, to thwart them. Luckily, many, many years ago, as a very young child, I learned to read, and now I put this literacy to my advantage. I happened to be perusing my friend Denise's hunger inducing blog and came across a Jacques Pepin recipe she posted for a cherry tomato gratin. A gratin! Of course. That will bring those little globular garden insurgents to their knees! If Jacques, who has achieved semi-hero status in my kitchen, says it is so, then I consider it gospel. Reading the recipe on Denise's blog, I could hardly believe that something so easy could provide the garden relief I was seeking, plus feed the large group of friend's coming over for dinner that night. Just let me say Jacques, us usual, did not disappoint. This was nothing short of fabulous, totally over-delivering for the minimal effort expended. The tomatoes soften just so, becoming infused with the herbs and garlic nestled alongside them, the crunch of the bread providing the perfect counterpoint to the lush texture and flavor. An awesome side dish with the rotisseried leg of lamb I served, and one of the best uses for the tomatoey bounty bursting out of your garden (or your farmer's market stand)!
these are all the ingredients, ready to be tossed by hand. I would of had a photo of the finished gratin. but I kind of, um, forgot to take one.....
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Cherry Tomato Gratin
from Jacques Pepin

1 1/4 pounds cherry tomatoes (approx 3.5 cups)
3 oz day-old french bread (about 3.5 cups) cut into 1″ cubes
4-6 cloves garlic, peeled & sliced (about 2 T)
1/4 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 T virgin olive oil (I use a bit more, usually)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (even good w/o this)

Preheat the over to 375. Wash tomatoes and discard stems. Mix tomatoes and all ingredients in a bowl. Transfer the mixture to a 6-cup oven-proof dish. Bake at 375 for 40 minutes, serve immediately.


dds said...

"...globular garden insurgents"?! Brilliant! Glad it satisfied, and in the nick of time for your dinner party. So, we have a shot of the tomato plant on my blog, the ingredients ready for mixing on yours...now we need someone to shoot the finished dish. We'll get there; it takes a village my friend.

bb said...

dds....got lucky with that rare moment of inspiration. If you don't get the photo before me, just know that this will be made sooner than later again at my house. Gotta strike while the little buggers are running hot!

Unknown said...

Don't understand the directions-what is 3 oz day old cherry tomato gratin? You have to make it and then let it sit and then make it and eat it? Huh?

bb said...

christy....oops...fixed it! Thanks for letting me know the error. I have given the proof reading department a stern lecture!

dp said...

We have cherry tomatoes coming out the ears! I planted way too many and now we can't eat them fast enough. I just made a big batch of tomato jam, but still we have a ton. This looks like a good way to *get rid of them.*

bb said...

dp...it's a problem isn't it? A happy problem, but still....

I just used a 1/2 pint in a "clean out the fridge" scramble for w and me this morning. Tomorrow night will probably be pasta with more of them....maybe add basil and pancetta or something. If you can still find padron peppers, Anthony at Tabla was tossing them together with cherry tomatoes recently, which was very nice.

I know I'll miss them when they're gone, but sometimes it's like "wow, what the hell am I going to do with all of these?!"