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Old 11-16-2012, 06:14 PM   #1
Colonel Dingleberry
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Default Cherry Tomato & Bacon Gratin

So when I saw the original tomato gratin recipe by Ina Garten, I immediately thought to myself "I can rebuild this. I have the technology. I can make it better than it was. Better...more delicious...more savory and enticing."

Bacon, melted cheese, caramelized onions... these things make everything better...

Tested out my theory yesterday at a pot luck down at the brewery, scaled it up to an 11.5" x 15" pan, this stuff just vanished.

(TSP = Teaspoon, TBS = Tablespoon, c. = cup)

Cherry Tomato & Bacon Gratin
(modified version of Provencal Cherry Tomato Gratin by Ina Garten)

2 lbs red cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
10-12 oz. yellow cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 lb bacon (Pepper, hickory, hardwood, applewood are all great; NEVER, EVER, EVER maple bacon though)
1-1/2 TBS + 1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
1 TSP dryed thyme
1 TSP kosher salt
1/2 TSP fresh ground black pepper
3-4 large garlic cloves, peeled
1/3 c. chopped flat leaf parsley
1/4 c. chopped fresh basil
2-3 c. coarse bread cubes from an onion bread (ideal) country bread, or french bread baguette
1/2 c. grated cheese - any combination of parmesan or romano plus optionally mozzarella, manchego, swiss, gouda etc. works.

Preheat oven to 400F

Cook the bacon to just barely done, ie., "chewy" tenderness in a pan, remove bacon with slotted spoon, place on rack to drain. Use spatula to scrape up all the crunchy bits from the bottom of the pan, pour oil and crunchy bits through fine strainer. Reserve crunchy bits.

Halve the tomatoes, place in large bowl.

Add 1-1/2 TBS extra virgin olive oil, 1 TSP salt, 1 TSP salt, 1 TSP pepper, 1 TSP thyme, and all the bacon crunchy bits. Toss together and pour into a 9" X 13" ceramic or pyrex pan.

Chop up all the bacon and sprinkle over the top of the tomatoes.

Place the garlic, parsley and basil in a food processor and process until all is finely chopped. Add the bread cubes and process until the bread is in crumbs. Add 1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil and pulse a few times to blend and coat all of the bread. Sprinkle evenly over the tomatoes & bacon.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the bread just turns golden brown, at which point, sprinkle the cheese over the bread, return to oven for 5-10 minutes for the cheese to melt and brown a bit.

Serve hot or warm.
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