Something simple. Something easy. Something – so delicious. A gratin. Fling a bunch of stuff in a casserole dish and top it with cheese or breadcrumbs. Bake. Now, you have a gratin. You can be extra special and use both cheese and breadcrumbs. Bake. Now, you have a show stopping gratin. I like show stopping. You’ll like it, too.
This one uses tomatoes, basil and goat cheese. Why? Because they had been in my fridge a little too long and I needed to make room for fresh vegetables from the co-op. Saturdays are always a surprise dinner day. We never know what’s going to be left over from the week or what needs to be used up right now. I don’t know about you, but things hide in my fridge. You know it’s in there, but you can’t find it. Later, much later, dang! There it is! Harumph. Sneaky veg. Well, these tomatoes were hiding under a bag of spinach. I found them, though. Along with that little knob of ginger that I never use up. The tomatoes, I’ll use. The ginger? Well, let’s just say the chickens enjoyed it.
Slice the tomatoes into 1/4 inch slices.
You don’t have to get out the ruler. Just guess. Look! I used my ceramic Yoshi blade. That thing is great for making really thin slices of tomatoes. I use it for nothing else. I am a Yoshi blade snob.
Then, chop up the basil. You can roll it up and make a lovely chiffonade, or you can be like me and scrunch the leaves up and hack away. Whatever gets the job done.
Get out a 9 x 9 inch casserole dish and give it a coat of spray oil. Use half the tomatoes and make a layer in the bottom, overlapping the sides if necessary. Sprinkle half the diced garlic over them.
Use half the basil – after you save some for the garnish – and spread out that over the ‘maters.
Now, do that again and make the second layer. Then, get out the olive oil and drizzle it over the top. Add some salt and pepper, cause you know you’ll want it.
Now, you could go ahead and grab a fork and gobble this down right now because it;s just that good –
But DON’T! You’d miss the creamy goat cheese and crunch topping! Instead, plop that dish into the oven for 10 minutes. While it’s cooking, get a half cup of panko bread crumbs out. Sprinkle a little salt & pepper over it and add in a tablespoon of olive oil. Mix it up real good.
Now that 10 minutes has passed, get the hot dish out of the oven. It’s cheese time! Pinch off little pieces of the goat cheese and drop them all over the top of the dish.
Cover it evenly. Share the cheese. I know those look like hunks of cauliflower and I imagine that would work too, but stick with the cheese. You’ll thank me later. Then, sprinkle all the seasoned panko crumbs on top.
Now, pop that dish back into the oven for another 10 minutes or until the top is all nice a browned.
Don’t forget to finish it off with that basil you saved!
Let’s get a better look at this, shall we?
Oh my! Oh my, oh my, oh my! That looks wonderful! It is, really! So good. Try it! Soooonnn.
- 3 large tomatoes or 4 smaller ones
- 4 oz. weight - goat cheese
- ⅔ oz. weight - basil, approx ½ cup chopped. Divided.
- 1 Tablespoon minced garlic, divided.
- ½ cup Panko bread crumbs
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided.
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 425º. Spray a 9 x 9 inch casserole dish with cooking spray.
- Reserve some basil for garnish.
- Slice tomatoes into ¼ inch slices. You don't have to measure, just guess.
- Using half the tomatoes, place a layer of them in the casserole dish, overlapping the sides, if necessary. Next, evenly spread a layer, using half of the chopped basil. Sprinkle half the garlic over that. For the next layer, repeat with tomatoes, basil and the rest of the garlic. Over the top, drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Bake casserole for 10 minutes. While it's baking, to your panko crumbs, add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and some salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
- After 10 minutes of baking time has passed, remove casserole from oven. Pinch off pieces of goat cheese and drop over the top, as evenly as possible. Top the casserole with the seasoned panko bread crumb mix. Return to the oven for an additional 10 minutes or until the crumb topping is nice and golden. Garnish with the reserved basil.
And now, the recipe.