Jerry Traunfeld created this gorgeous gratin to highlight ripe, juicy tomatoes and other late-summer vegetables, which moisten the crispy bread crust as they bake. "Don't be afraid to lift a corner with a spatula and check to see whether the bread is toasted," he says. "When it's browned, it's done."
Top Tomato Recipes
1/2 medium eggplant, sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
1 medium zucchini or yellow squash, sliced 1/4 inch thick
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced or mashed
One 14-ounce loaf rustic white bread, crusts removed and bread sliced 1/2 inch thick
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup torn basil leaves
3 medium tomatoes, sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 400°. In a colander, toss the eggplant and zucchini with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and let stand for 20 minutes. Drain well and gently squeeze out any excess liquid.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir the olive oil with the garlic. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with 1 1/2 teaspoons of the garlic-infused oil. Tear the bread into 2-inch pieces and line the bottom of the baking dish with bread, fitting the pieces tightly together. Drizzle the bread with 2 tablespoons of the garlic oil and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the bread with half of the basil.
In a medium bowl, toss the eggplant and zucchini with 2 tablespoons of the garlic oil and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the tomato slices with salt and pepper. Arrange the eggplant, zucchini and tomatoes over the bread, overlapping them if necessary. Sprinkle with the thyme leaves, salt and pepper and drizzle with the remaining garlic oil.
Bake the gratin for about 40 minutes, until the vegetables begin to brown and the bottom of the bread is golden brown. Remove the vegetable gratin from the oven and let stand until cooled slightly, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining basil, cut into pieces and serve.
The gratin can be baked up to 2 hours in advance. Reheat in a 350° oven or serve at room temperature.
This summery gratin is lighter than most because it doesn't contain any cream or cheese, making it an ideal dish to pair with an equally summery rosé, say, from France's Loire Valley.
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