Corn and Tomato Gratin

Shared by shareholder Fox Dixcy, from Gourmet September, 2006

*Gratin can be assembled, but not baked, 4 hours ahead and chilled, covered.  Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before baking.  (I’ve assembled it as much as 1 day ahead.)

1 ½ lbs. red or yellow tomatoes, (4 medium), cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
2 cups fresh bread crumbs, preferably from a day-old baguette; an 8-inch piece, including crust

1 oz (1/2 cup) finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
6 TBSP unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, plus additional for buttering pan
2 tsp salt          
1 tsp black pepper
4 cups fresh corn kernels, (from 6 ears)
1 cup whole milk
½ cup heavy cream      
½ cup chopped fresh basil

Arrange tomato slices in 1 layer on a rack set in a shallow baking pan and sprinkle on both sides with 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper.  Let drain 30 minutes.

While tomatoes drain, bring corn, milk, cream, and 1/4 tsp salt to a simmer in a 2- to 3-quart heavy saucepan over high heat, then reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until corn is tender, about 5 minutes.  Cool slightly, uncovered.

Put oven rack in upper third of oven and preheat oven to 375°.  Butter a shallow 2-quart baking dish.

Toss together breadcrumbs, basil, cheese, and remaining 3/4 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper in another bowl.

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

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