Gratin Needs Cheese

by Marisa Olsen


Recently, I was thumbing through my Alice Waters Chez Panisse Vegetables cookbook and stumbled upon her Eggplant, Tomato, and Onion Gratin. It had everything I wanted in a gratin; my favorite vegetables, aromatic herbs, cheese...errr...scratch that. No cheese. How could that be, Alice?  
Waters also suggested pairing the gratin with roasted lamb, but again, that wasn't in the cards either. The gratin was my main course and I needed it beef it up.  I rummaged through the kitchen and found a stale baguette that was about to get chucked. I decided to make my own bread crumbs by sauteeing the cubed bread with olive oil, maldon salt, and rosemary (this is my new favorite thing to do with stale bread). I also added fresh mozzarella and couldn't have been happier. The dish was so savory, but still light, and the breadcrumbs soaked up the au jus that the tomatoes produced wonderfully. Another great aspect to this dish is that you can totally repurpose your leftovers over pasta. Just add more cheese.