Tomato gratin

Tomato gratin

William Meppem


Quantity Ingredient
100ml olive oil
11 garlic cloves
3 brown onions, finely sliced
50ml sherry vinegar
25g sugar
1 bunch marjoram, leaves coarsely chopped
1 bunch basil, leaves coarsely chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
50ml extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2kg very ripe roma tomatoes, sliced 1⁄2 cm thick
100ml Smoky tomato sauce
250g day-old bread, blended into breadcrumbs
50g butter
1/2 bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves chopped


  1. Heat half of the olive oil in a saucepan over a medium heat, add 8 finely sliced garlic cloves and cook until they begin to caramelise. Then add the onions and cook briskly until the onions collapse. Deglaze with the vinegar and sugar, cook until reduced to a syrup and the onions are soft. Tip the glazed onions onto a tray to cool. Once cool, add the herbs and seasoning.
  2. Brush a small deep baking dish with extra-virgin olive oil, season the dish and arrange a perfect layer of sliced tomatoes over the base. Scatter over some onion and herb mixture, arrange another layer of tomatoes on top, then scatter with more onions and herbs. After 2 layers of tomatoes, onions and herbs, spoon over 50 ml of the sauce, add another 2 layers, then the remaining sauce. Lastly add another layer of tomatoes followed by onions and herbs. Press down the vegetables using a lid slightly smaller than the dish with a weight on top, and leave for 1 hour or so until well pressed.
  3. Preheat oven to 110°C.
  4. Heat the remaining olive oil in a wide pan, add the breadcrumbs, grate the remaining garlic cloves and fry together until they begin to colour. Then add the butter and cook until the breadcrumbs are golden-brown and crispy. Add the parsley, season, then spoon over the now pressed tomato gratin. Bake for 11⁄2 hours, until extremely soft.

Chef’s note

  • This gratin is excellent with meats and poultry, and is especially good if accompanied by béarnaise sauce (see Quick Béarnaise Sauce)
high end
fine dining
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