1-1/2 pounds red or yellow tomatoes (about 4 medium), cut into ½ inch thick slices

salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 cups corn kernels (from 6 to 8 ears)

1 cup whole milk

½ cup heavy cream

2 cups fresh bread crumbs, preferably from an 8 inch piece of day old baguette (including crust)

½ cup chopped basil

½ cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

¾ stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces


1.   Arrange tomato slices in one layer on a rack set on a baking sheet.  Sprinkle on both sides with 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper (total) and let drain for 30 minutes to concentrate flavor.

2.   Meanwhile, combine corn, milk, cream and ¼ teaspoon salt in a 2 to 3 quart heavy saucepan and bring to a simmer over high heat, then reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until corn is tender, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and cool slightly, uncovered

3.   Put a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 375*.  Butter a shallow 2 quart baking dish.

4.   Toss together bread crumbs, basil, cheese, ¾ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper in a bowl.

5.   Arrange one third of tomato slices in baking dish, cover evenly with one third of the bread crumb mixture and dot with one third of the butter.  Spoon half of the corn mixture over the crumbs, then repeat layering with half of the remaining tomatoes, crumbs and butter and all of the corn.  Arrange remaining tomatoes over the corn, top with remaining bread crumbs and dot with remaining butter.

6.   Bake, uncovered, until top is golden and gratin is bubbling all over, 40 to 45 minutes.  Cool on a rack for about 15 minutes before serving.

NOTE:   The gratin can be assembled up to 4 hours ahead and refrigerated, covered.  Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking.

from Ruth Reichl (editor) Gourmet Today

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