This beautiful, light casserole couldn’t be any easier. Just a few minutes of your work can get you a dish that is a juicy burst of flavors and textures. Colorful, pretty tomatoes don’t just have to be a summertime thing. They can very well add color, splash and pop to your winter and holiday table.
This tomato gratin is neither loaded with cream and tons of cheese, nor is it mushy or liquidy. It’s slightly blistered tomatoes that still retain the pop, intermingled with crispy baguette cubes. All this is generously doused with olive oil, fresh herbs and light shavings of parmesan before going in the oven. The sights before and after baking are so refreshing and inviting, and the result is addictive deliciousness. This could be your time to introduce gratin into the holiday season. Let me tell you how…
For those of you who are blessed to have a garden, this might already be the end of the tomato season. It must be so great just going out in your backyard and plucking these beautiful luscious tomatoes when they are in bounty. If some of you still have those last few beauties, try this gratin as a farewell to summertime tomatoes.
Luckily, nice cherry tomatoes are available throughout the year, so we never have to wait till the sunshine time of the year. I love them so much I have compiled a list of my 25 favorite cherry tomato recipes.
I feel everyone would have a refreshing change this holiday season if you present your family and friends with this colorful gratin, instead of the usual cream laden casseroles.
I like the fact that it takes so little time to make this happen. It’s a breeze to whip this up, when there is so much hectic holiday cooking happening in your kitchen.
What is Gratin?
Gratin, or au gratin, is a French invention that could be very broad and flexible. Usually it is characterized by something baked in a shallow dish and topped with something that crisps up after scorching in the broiler or hot oven. This could be cheese or buttery breadcrumbs or just plain bread pieces. This technique is thought to have originated in Provence. The word “gratin” comes from the French verb “gratiner”, meaning to broil, as well as “gratter”, meaning to scratch or scrape.
The ingredients for gratin mostly include cream, grated cheese, breadcrumbs or bread cubes, or a combination of all. You can make Gratins out of everything and anything. Hardy vegetables like potatoes, cauliflower and squash are most common and traditional.
There are also chicken and seafood gratins, pasta and rice gratins, and those made with softer vegetables like tomato, zucchini, eggplant or spinach. They can be heavy and hearty thanks to cream and cheese, or lighter with just a few shavings of cheese, or just topped with toasty breadcrumbs.
Maybe your sweet potato casserole or apple crumbles could be termed sweet gratins too… 🙂 How about your favorite mac and cheese? If it has some crusty bread crumb topping, yes, it’s officially a gratin… Hmm.
Anyways, let’s talk about this easy and quick tomato gratin today. We are going to make it look pretty by using those colorful cherry tomatoes. This would be great with heirloom tomatoes too, just cut them into quarters.
All you need is a few simple things
- Cherry tomatoes – We are using multi colored, but just plain cherry or grape tomatoes will do too.
- Bread cubes – That day old baguette you have on the counter is perfect.
- Garlic – Thinly sliced.
- Fresh herbs – Now this is flexible. Whatever you can lay your hands on. Basil, oregano, thyme and parsley. All or some would make this so addictive.
- Parmesan cheese
- Extra virgin olive oil
Quick and easy cherry tomato gratin
Before I start with the process, let me tell you that it’s very flexible and can be made according to your mood on any particular day. You want it more garlicky, add an extra one or two garlic cloves. Experiment with different herbs. Make it more or less cheesy. It will always turn out great.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cut the baguette into 1 inch cubes. Mix the bread cubes and whole cherry tomatoes with a good splash of extra virgin olive oil, along with salt, pepper, chopped fresh herbs (we used good amounts of fresh basil, oregano, thyme and parsley) and sliced garlic. I mix with my hands so everything is coated well.
Transfer this into your gratin dish. This dish could be any shallow casserole dish or oven proof shallow cast iron pan. Give a light shaving of parmesan and that’s it.
Pop it in the oven uncovered for 25-30 minutes, till the tomatoes start blistering and the bread cubes turn toasty.
That’s it… Time to take it out and ogle and admire your dish till it cools down enough to pop those tomatoes in your mouth. When they burst, the flavors are so addictive. Those crusty toasty bread cubes are perfect to sop up the juices from the tomatoes as they pop.
- Instead of larger bread cubes, you can make a bread crumb and cheese mixture. Just toss whatever loaf you have, along with garlic, herbs and parmesan into your blender. Then top the tomatoes with this homemade mixture.
- Use different cheeses like mozzarella, Gruyere, feta or even goat cheese.
- Try adding other accompaniments like zucchini, eggplant or olives.
- Top it up with some fried or poached egg for a perfect breakfast option.
This cherry tomato gratin… it happens when you take something simple and keep it simple. Yet it turn out wow-worthy!
This would be your perfect side dish or part of an hors d’oeuvre buffet for the upcoming holiday. But that doesn’t mean you can’t try it first to see how easy this Mediterranean style dish is to make. We love to show you pretty and gorgeous food that can be so easy and quick in everyday life.
Pin or bookmark this recipe and subscribe to GypsyPlate for a lot of holiday food in the next couple of months… Can’t wait to end 2020 with some festive air. Take care and be safe!
Cherry Tomato Gratin, on my Gypsy Plate… enjoy!
These other great appetizers will look great on your spread!
Baked Brie with Nuts and Honey
Tortellini Pasta Salad
Spanish Spinach with Chick Peas
Butternut Squash Blossom
Garlic Butter Steak Bites
Moutabal (Eggplant Dip)
- 12 oz cherry tomatoes
- 3 cups of baguette cubes
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2-3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup of fresh herbs (basil, parsley, thyme, oregano), chopped (see note 1)
- 3-4 Tbsp parmesan cheese, shredded (see note 2)
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper
- Pre heat the oven at 375°F.
- In a bowl, mix bread cubes, tomatoes, olive oil, chopped herbs, garlic, salt and pepper. Transfer it to a greased gratin dish. (See note 3)
- Top it with grated parmesan cheese and bake it uncovered in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes.
- Rest for few a minutes and serve.
- We used almost equal proportion of parsley and basil and half as much thyme and oregano. You can use any herbs at your disposal, or what you love.
- For best taste, use a block of parmesan and grated it freshly over the gratin.
- For these proportions, a 7.5" round skillet was the perfect size.
- For different flavors and textures, you can experiment with other cheeses or add in additional veggies like eggplant or olives.
Nutrition InformationYield 4 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 288Total Fat 19gSaturated Fat 5gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 13gCholesterol 11mgSodium 742mgCarbohydrates 21gFiber 2gSugar 4gProtein 10g
Nutrition information calculated by Nutritionix.
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