Fresh Tomato-Basil Gratin

September 7, 2007

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With this basic gratin formula, you can make any number of vegetable, meat, or fish casseroles. This version is a delightful way to finish out the summer’s tomatoes and basil. And, it’s bound to please any vegetarians you might be feeding. SAM

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 1/2 pounds sweet onions, thinly sliced (4 medium)
2 pounds tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and roughly chopped (5 medium)
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon marsala wine
3 ounces log goat’s cheese
3 ounces water
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup torn, loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unseasoned breadcrumbs, divided
Sea salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a 2-quart baking dish and set aside. In a large chef’s pan over low heat, sweat the onions in 1 tablespoon olive oil until soft, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. In a medium chef’s pan over medium-high heat, sauté the tomatoes and bay leaf in 1 tablespoon oil, stirring frequently, until liquid is slightly reduced, about 10 minutes. Add the wine and reduce, about 2 minutes. Discard the bay leaf. In a small saucepan over very low heat, combine the goat’s cheese and water, stirring until melted. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the onions, tomatoes, feta, goat’s cheese mixture, eggs, basil, parsley, and 1/2 cup breadcrumbs. Season with salt and pepper. Turn into the prepared gratin pan and sprinkle with the remaining breadcrumbs and remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Bake for 50 minutes or until browned.
Makes 2 main or 4 side servings.