Slow-Roasted Heirloom Tomato Gratin

This recipe is from Susie Middleton’s Fast, Fresh & Green, Chronicle Books. Susie appeared at the market on July 23, signed her book, and talked about her dedication to using fresh local ingredients, much of which she grows herself. If you want to follow her excellent blog, go to sixburnersue.


  • 3 tbsp plus ½ tsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 ½ lb large, ripe heirloom beefsteak tomatoes
  • ¾ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 3 to 4 garlic cloves, sliced very thinly crosswise
  • 2 tbsp loosely packed fresh thyme leaves
  • ½ tsp balsamic vinegar


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Rub a 2-qt shallow baking dish with ½ tsp of the olive oil.
  2. On a cutting board, preferably a channeled one to catch wandering juices, core the tomatoes. If they’re very large (3/4 to 1lb), quarter them. If they’re on the smaller side, just cut them in half. Turn the quarters and halves cut side down and slice them across into ¼-inch thick slices, keeping each group of slices (from the same half or quarter) together as much as possible.
  3. Starting at one end of the baking dish, arrange one row of overlapping tomato slices across the pan from one side to the other, propping up the slices slightly against the end of the pan. (It’s easiest to pick up the slices from a tomato quarter or half and fan them out to make a row.) Season the tomatoes with a tiny bit of the salt and sugar and sprinkle the row with a few slices of the garlic and some of the thyme leaves. Arrange the next row of tomatoes so that they overlap the first quite a bit, and then repeat the seasoning. Continue with rows of overlapping, seasoned tomatoes until you get to the end of the pan. Every so often, you can stop and push the rows back a bit toward the end you started with to compact them somewhat. But don’t bunch them up too tightly. Sprinkle any remaining thyme leaves and the balsamic vinegar over all the tomatoes. Drizzle the remaining 3 Tbsp olive oil over all.
  4. Bake until the tomatoes are very shrunken and the juices in the pan have greatly reduced (they should be barely visible below the edges of the tomatoes), about 1 hour and 45 minutes. The edges of the tomatoes near the center will be slightly browned and those around the sides of the baking dish will be a deep brown. The baking dish itself will be very browned from the spattering and reducing juices. Let cool and eat warm or at room temperature.

(Serves 4)

Heirloom Tomato

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