Best Summer Tomato Gratin
Why This Recipe Works
We set out to deliver a summer tomato gratin with concentrated, bright tomato flavor and contrasting texture from the bread, rather than the mushy results of most recipes. Starting on the stovetop initiated the breakdown of the tomatoes, drove off some moisture that would otherwise have sogged out the bread, and shortened the overall cooking time. We then finished the dish in the even heat of the oven. We found that toasting large cubes of a crusty artisan-style baguette ensured that the bread didn’t get too soggy once combined with the tomatoes. After toasting the bread, we set it aside and added the coarsely chopped tomatoes as well as garlic, a small amount of sugar, and salt and pepper. Just before moving the skillet to the oven, we folded in most of the toasted bread and scattered the remainder over the top along with some Parmesan to create a crusty, savory topping that contrasted with the custardy interior. A scattering of fresh basil provided color and an additional layer of bright flavor.