An old-fashioned dish – why did this ever get forgotten? It can make even supermarket tomatoes taste good, but it’s best with the luscious tomatoes that come in late summer, bursting with juices and flavor.
- 2 big tomatoes, very ripe
- 1 slice sturdy bread
- 1 big clove garlic
- some olive oil or butter
- salt and pepper
- 1-2 oz cheese of your choice (may be omitted)
Core the tomatoes and slice them. Set aside while you preheat oven to 400F and prep garlic bread crumbs. Mince garlic, make rough crumbs out of the bread. Heat a bit of oil or butter (or both) in a small skillet, cook garlic until it is very fragrant but NOT brown. Add bread crumbs and cook, tossing, until the bread crumbs are coated. Set aside while you grate or finely chop the cheese. (I like very sharp cheddar, or gruyere, best)
Butter a small gratin dish. Put a layer of tomatoes in the bottom – use the ugliest pieces lowest down. Season with salt and pepper, add half the cheese if using, then 1/3 the bread crumbs. Repeat twice, so you have 3 layers of tomatoes and crumbs, crumbs on top.
Bake in the hot oven just until the crumbs are browned, the cheese is melted, and you can’t stand the good smell any more and have to attack it.
May be doubled, in which case use a larger dish, because you still need to make each layer 1 tomato slice thick, and keep it to only three layers.