Thursday, August 17, 2006

Tomato Gratin with Parmesan Crumbs (Page 586)

  • Date: Monday, August 14, 2006 - 8pm
  • Location: Palo Alto, CA
  • Kitchen: Emilee and Brian's Apartment
  • Fellow Chef: Emilee
  • Dining Companion: Brian
  • Recipe Rating: B-

Emilee and I picked this one because they have a whole backyard full of tomatoes this time of year! Brian wasn't home from the lab by the time we ventured in to his garden to pick our tomatoes, so somehow we ended up picking caspian pinks rather than beefsteaks (my claim: the caspian pinks aren't so pink! They're red!). Despite our mistake, they were still beautiful tomatoes! Nonetheless, this dish wasn't great. Brian said that the recipe "ruined the tomatoes." In a sense he was right. I think that the tomatoes, sliced with some salt, pepper, and balsamic, would have been a better dish than this. All the flavors were good, but the dish just wasn't cohesive. Plus, the textural contrast of the cooked tomatoes with the crispy breadcrumbs didn't work out well. It wasn't bad, but I certainly wasn't eager to eat it.

I should take a moment to wax poetic about Brian's garden. Emilee and Brian live in a 2 bedroom apartment in Palo Alto, which is nice for a lot of reasons, including that it has a little fenced in backyard. It's not a huge space, but Brian has certainly made the most of it! Right now it is a beautiful sea of tomatoes out there. I don't remember exactly how many different kinds of tomatoes he planted this year but he has several varieties of heirloom tomatoes along with the more usual stuff. There are strawberries out there now too. And a peach tree. And a fig tree. It makes me happy just thinking about it. I've never had a garden -- and I do tend to accidently kill even the houseplants that require the least attendance. But the idea of a garden appeals to me so much! When I stay at Emilee and Brian's, every morning I look out the window in the shower, which is on the 2nd floor and overlooks the garden, and it just makes me happy! In retrospect, I don't know why we didn't make more tomato recipes while I was out there this week. We should have!

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