This au Gratin recipe is like none you’ve ever tried. A creamy, smoky sauce combines with fresh corn and summer tomatoes for the BEST summer au gratin!
My parents have a huge vegetable garden. I realize that I have mentioned this before. But to have fresh, free vegetables coming my way a few times a week is such a pleasure that I can’t help mentioning it one more time.
Especially when some of those vegetables are in the form of fresh summer tomatoes. (Yes, technically a fruit, leave me alone, literalists). My counter tops have been piled high and dishes filled with bite-sized cherry tomatoes, too. I love them so much that I’ll have one sliced with salt and a drizzle of olive oil for a snack. And don’t even get me started on how amazing it is to put sliced fresh tomatoes between good bread with a slathering of homemade mayo.
But you need some good tomato recipes up your sleeve, too, and this tomato au gratin is one of my favorites. I love the smokiness from the adobo sauce and the crunch from the breadcrumb topping but didn’t want to overpower the flavor of the corn and tomatoes. The cream adds richness and it all comes together for a wonderful au gratin side dish.
And I’ll add a confession here: I made this tomato au gratin for my meal rather than just a side. In my defense, it was just me eating that night and this was all I wanted. I didn’t eat the entire au gratin but I did put a
huge gaping hole significant dent in it. I rationalized that the calories from that small amount of cream were clearly being offset by the healthy goodness from the tomatoes and the corn. And who even cares about the buttered crumb topping? Everyone knows those calories don’t count :)
Smoky Summer Corn and Tomato Au Gratin
This recipe calls for both panko breadcrumbs and homemade because I prefer the texture of the panko on the inside and homemade for the topping. Feel free to substitute panko for the homemade to make it easier if you prefer.
- 4 large tomatoes (sliced)
- 1/2 whole milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 garlic cloves (crushed)
- 4 ears corn (kernels removed and cobs discarded)
- 1 tablespoon adobo sauce (from a can of chipotle peppers)
- 1/3 baguette (torn into chunks (about 6-inches from a long baguette))
- 1/4 cup butter (melted)
- 1/4 cup cilantro
- 1/4 cup shredded or grated parmesan
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
- Place tomato slices in one layer on a rack set on top of a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and allow to sit while preparing the other ingredients.
- Heat milk, cream and garlic cloves in a medium-sized saucepan until very hot (do not boil). Reduce heat and keep just below a simmer for about 5 minutes so garlic can infuse cream mixture. Remove garlic cloves and discard.
- Add corn kernels and adobo sauce to cream mixture. Cook just below a simmer for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Place bread chunks into a high-powered blender or food processor and blend on low until the consistency of large crumbs. Add butter, cilantro and parmesan and blend until incorporated completely.
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- Spray a 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray. Place a layer of tomatoes on the bottom, followed by half of the panko breadcrumbs then half of the corn mixture. Add a second layer of tomatoes, the remaining panko breadcrumbs and the remaining corn mixture. Top with a final layer of tomatoes then the homemade breadcrumb mixture.
- Bake at 375F for 30 minutes or until topping is browned and gratin is bubbling. Allow to rest for 10-15 minutes then serve.