Cherry tomatoes are in the farmer's market now! Whoohoo! My own tomato plants are still weeks away from producing ripe, delicious tomatoes (some of which are cherry tomatoes) but they somehow have them in the market. On the upside: some of my plants have little tomatoes on them, and one has a tomato the size of a small egg!
This dish is one of my favorite summer dishes. But then I have so many favorite summer dishes! Summer is my favorite time to cook, because the ripe, flavorful vegetables of summer need so little in the way of preparation to be absolutely wonderful.
This is not veganizable. So I used the rest of the bunch of basil to make pesto for Hibi, and she ate cherry tomatoes along with ciabatta, which I served alongside the gratin to sop up the yummy juices, and pesto. She was happy! You could, I suppose, make it with a vegan ricotta, but I think you'd have to make it yourself because I know of no commercial vegan ricotta. Or just bake tomatoes with the other ingredients.
Gratin of Cherry Tomatoes with Ricotta and Basil
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds cherry tomatoes, preferably a mix of red and yellow
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup ricotta
2 tabelspoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup heavy cream
Preheat the oven to 425.
Choose a shallow baking dish that is just large enough to hold the tomatoes snugly packed in a single layer. (I used a 9X13 pan.) Using 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, grease the bottom and sides of the dish. Add the tomatoes, rolling them around to coat with oil.
In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, garlic, 5 tablespoons of the basil, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, and the pepper. Sprinkle half of the mixture over the oiled tomatoes.
In a mixing bowl, combine the ricotta, the remaining 3 tablespoons basil and 1/2 teaspoon salt, the eggs, flour, and cream. Stir until well blended and creamy. Pour this mixture over the crumb-topped tomatoes. Sprinkle with the remaining bread crumb mixture and drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil.
Place in the oven and bake until the cheese is slightly browned and the tomatoes have not yet burst, about 15 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature, spooned onto individual plates.
This served the three of us non-vegans with just a smidge left over, and I'll bet when I go back to the kitchen I'll find that it's gone. :-) It would, of course, serve more if it was served as a side-dish.
From The Vegetarian Table: France by Georganne Brennan