Green Tomato Gratin

Green Tomato Gratin with Crispy Panko CrustSlices of green tomato are cooked in a creamy mornay sauce with a crisp panko crust in this unconventional green tomato gratin.

With the weather up in the high 80’s here in in Manhattan over the weekend, it really feels like we’ve skipped past spring and have headed straight into summer. This is quite unfortunate as these fleeting days between winter and summer are a rare respite from the otherwise atrocious weather we get here.

To reassure my senses that the withering heat of summer is still a few weeks off, I picked up some springy green tomatoes at the farmers market. If you haven’t guessed by now, I have a penchant for unripe fruits and veggies, as evidenced here, here, and here, and love green tomatoes something fierce.

Sliced green tomatoes

Many would regard unripe fruit and veggies as a result of corporate farms that are more interested in things like shelf-life and yield rather than trivialities like flavour and texture. Maybe I’m just weird (this is a well established fact), but I like to look at pre-maturely picked fruit a fun challenge. Green tomatoes are commonly fried and eaten in southern cooking, so this wasn’t too much of a stretch for me.

Green tomato gratin in a creamy mornay sauce

A gratin is a French casserole, traditionally involving potatoes layered with either a béchamel or mornay sauce and baked until bubbly with a golden crust on top. They’re rich, creamy and can be quite heavy. Inspired by my bag of gorgeous green tomatoes, I decided to apply the technique to my firm verdant jewels of spring.

The result was like a more refined version of fried green tomatoes with a country gravy. With a cheesy mornay sauce bubbling up between layers of tart green tomatoes, and a crisp panko crust, it’s pure artery clogging heaven on a plate. I used this as a side for dinner, but I can’t stop thinking about how awesome it would be on a bed of home fries with a poached egg on top.

Slices of unripe green tomato smothered in mornay sauce

This riff on the classic gratin also got me thinking about other possibilities. What about a green peach “gratin” made with slices of unripe peaches and crème anglaise topped with buttered cinnamon sugar bread crumbs? Okay, so maybe the crème anglaise would curdle, but it could be thickened with a roux rather than yolks for this purpose.

Green Tomato Gratin

1 lb green tomatoes sliced 1/8″ thick

for breadcrumb topping
1/2 C panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1/4 tsp kosher salt
black pepper
1 Tbs olive oil

for mornay
1 1/2 tbs butter
1 large shallot minced
2 tsp flour
3/4 C heavy cream
1 tsp kosher salt (less if you use regular salt)
1/4 C parmesan
1/8 tsp nutmeg

Put the oven rack in the middle position and preheat to 450 degrees F.

Mix all the ingredients for the breadcrumb topping together and set aside.

To make the mornay, put the butter and shallots in a small saucepan and saute over medium heat until the shallots are very fragrant. Add the flour and stir for about 1 minute. Whisk in the cream then add the cheese, salt and nutmeg. Continue whisking until the mornay thickens, then take it off the heat.

Dip the slices of green tomato into the mornay and arrange in a small oven-safe casserole dish. Spread any remaining sauce on top of the green tomatoes. Sprinkle the breadcrumb topping evenly on top then place the dish in the oven.

Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling and the breadcrumbs are golden brown.

  • http://souvlakiforthesoul.com/ Peter G

    I love your thinking behind these dishes Marc…nothing wrong with unconventional. It looks fantastic and delicious! I’d love to see how your peach version turns out….

  • http://souvlakiforthesoul.com Peter G

    I love your thinking behind these dishes Marc…nothing wrong with unconventional. It looks fantastic and delicious! I’d love to see how your peach version turns out….

  • http://www.figandcherry.com/ Christie @ Fig & Cherry

    Seeing those tomatoes smothered in mornay just made my day!

  • http://www.figandcherry.com Christie @ Fig & Cherry

    Seeing those tomatoes smothered in mornay just made my day!

  • http://constableslarder.com/ Giff

    this sounds really interesting Marc, as usual! Love that pic of the sliced green tomato :)

  • http://constableslarder.com Giff

    this sounds really interesting Marc, as usual! Love that pic of the sliced green tomato :)

  • http://savorysweetlife.com/ alice

    Wow, this looks amazing. Can’t wait for our local neighborhood farmer’s market to begin (May). I’ve never tried green tomatoes but your post has convinced me I need to. Well done.

  • http://savorysweetlife.com alice

    Wow, this looks amazing. Can’t wait for our local neighborhood farmer’s market to begin (May). I’ve never tried green tomatoes but your post has convinced me I need to. Well done.

  • http://theglassdragonfly.com/ Kelly

    They look really (and I mean really!!) good. I might have to try this…soon.

  • http://theglassdragonfly.com/ Kelly

    They look really (and I mean really!!) good. I might have to try this…soon.

  • http://www.deglazeme.blogspot.com/ Christina@DeglazeMe

    Marc, a brilliant twist on a classic gratin! Looks scrumptious.

  • http://www.deglazeme.blogspot.com Christina@DeglazeMe

    Marc, a brilliant twist on a classic gratin! Looks scrumptious.

  • http://www.glutenfreegourmand.blogspot.com/ Gina

    Last summer I was dying for a decadent recipe involving green tomatoes – I had millions from my garden. Now I know what to do for this year’s crop. How is it that you have green tomatoes already at your farmer’s market? Canadian hothouse? Portland doesn’t have any such thing quite yet. I’m pretty jealous.

  • http://www.glutenfreegourmand.blogspot.com Gina

    Last summer I was dying for a decadent recipe involving green tomatoes – I had millions from my garden. Now I know what to do for this year’s crop. How is it that you have green tomatoes already at your farmer’s market? Canadian hothouse? Portland doesn’t have any such thing quite yet. I’m pretty jealous.

  • http://www.sophiesfoodiefiles.blogspot.com/ Sophie

    I adore a great tomato gratin & I adore green tomatoes! They have a lovely taste!
    Yum!

  • http://www.sophiesfoodiefiles.blogspot.com Sophie

    I adore a great tomato gratin & I adore green tomatoes! They have a lovely taste!
    Yum!

  • http://www.minimalchronicles.blogspot.com/ chiara.u

    Spring? Summer?? What is it????
    Here in Italy (in the north) we have rain and rain and rain…
    Green tomatoes are really great:-))
    Ciao!

  • http://www.minimalchronicles.blogspot.com chiara.u

    Spring? Summer?? What is it????
    Here in Italy (in the north) we have rain and rain and rain…
    Green tomatoes are really great:-))
    Ciao!

  • http://onlinepastrychef.wordpress.com/ Jenni

    “The result was like a more refined version of fried green tomatoes with a country gravy. With a cheesy mornay sauce bubbling up between layers of tart green tomatoes, and a crisp panko crust, it’s pure artery clogging heaven on a plate.” I welled up, just a little, reading this part. Fantastic spin on a gratin, Marc! About the peach guy, maybe make some pastry cream and some frangipane–both would be awesome, and the almond flavor goes nicely w/peaches anyway. Oh, the possibilities… :)

  • http://onlinepastrychef.wordpress.com/ Jenni

    “The result was like a more refined version of fried green tomatoes with a country gravy. With a cheesy mornay sauce bubbling up between layers of tart green tomatoes, and a crisp panko crust, it’s pure artery clogging heaven on a plate.” I welled up, just a little, reading this part. Fantastic spin on a gratin, Marc! About the peach guy, maybe make some pastry cream and some frangipane–both would be awesome, and the almond flavor goes nicely w/peaches anyway. Oh, the possibilities… :)

  • http://fivestarfoodie.blogspot.com/ Natasha – 5 Star Foodie

    Green tomatoes in mornay sauce sounds wonderful! Love the idea!

  • http://fivestarfoodie.blogspot.com Natasha – 5 Star Foodie

    Green tomatoes in mornay sauce sounds wonderful! Love the idea!

  • http://food.lizsteinberg.com/ Liz

    What an intriguing idea. I personally like my tomatoes red and ripe, but it’s always fun to try something new. That is, if I can even find unripe tomatoes for sale here in sunny Israel …

  • http://food.lizsteinberg.com Liz

    What an intriguing idea. I personally like my tomatoes red and ripe, but it’s always fun to try something new. That is, if I can even find unripe tomatoes for sale here in sunny Israel …

  • http://www.recipegirl.com/blog Lori @ The Recipe Girl

    That’s one way to make tomatoes completely decadent now, isn’t it? I’d love every bite.

    What a gorgeous green tomato that is! I’m happy you’re finally having some warm weather :)

  • http://www.recipegirl.com/blog Lori @ The Recipe Girl

    That’s one way to make tomatoes completely decadent now, isn’t it? I’d love every bite.

    What a gorgeous green tomato that is! I’m happy you’re finally having some warm weather :)

  • http://memoriesinthebaking.blogspot.com/ Marysol

    Gratins are a favorite side, so they’re made often. But, green tomato gratin is a deliciously-innovative idea.

  • http://memoriesinthebaking.blogspot.com Marysol

    Gratins are a favorite side, so they’re made often. But, green tomato gratin is a deliciously-innovative idea.

  • http://www.danatreat.com/ Dana

    That looks truly decadent and truly awesome! I love crisp toppings on savory and sweet dishes and panko is so great for that.

  • http://lisaiscooking.blogspot.com/ lisaiscooking

    This is a great twist, and it has that delicious Southern decadence about it. Sounds incredible!

  • http://www.danatreat.com Dana

    That looks truly decadent and truly awesome! I love crisp toppings on savory and sweet dishes and panko is so great for that.

  • http://lisaiscooking.blogspot.com/ lisaiscooking

    This is a great twist, and it has that delicious Southern decadence about it. Sounds incredible!

  • http://www.foodgal.com/ Carolyn Jung

    This might not be diet food, but it’s a nice change from the usual fried green tomatoes, which I love. I hope the weather cools off there. You’re right — it’s way too early for it to be that hot yet.

  • http://www.foodgal.com Carolyn Jung

    This might not be diet food, but it’s a nice change from the usual fried green tomatoes, which I love. I hope the weather cools off there. You’re right — it’s way too early for it to be that hot yet.

  • http://www.palatetopen.com/ Jen

    We are skipping spring in Boston too! I’ll try this recipe out anyway as it speaks to the seasonal transition we should be weathering :) Not sure where I may find green tomatoes, but I’m up for the hunt!

  • http://www.palatetopen.com Jen

    We are skipping spring in Boston too! I’ll try this recipe out anyway as it speaks to the seasonal transition we should be weathering :) Not sure where I may find green tomatoes, but I’m up for the hunt!

  • http://kitchensidecar.blogspot.com/ katiek @kitchensidecar

    This looks good. It is interesting how few people know that the green tomato is an unripe red tomato. For some reason,some throw them off. Very strange…

    anyways, love gratin. My sister’s bf is french and he just throws creme fraiche and gruyere into a bowl and dumps it onto of vegis. SOOOO GOOD.

  • http://kitchensidecar.blogspot.com katiek @kitchensidecar

    This looks good. It is interesting how few people know that the green tomato is an unripe red tomato. For some reason,some throw them off. Very strange…

    anyways, love gratin. My sister’s bf is french and he just throws creme fraiche and gruyere into a bowl and dumps it onto of vegis. SOOOO GOOD.

  • http://duodishes.wordpress.com/ The Duo Dishes

    We’re so used to fried green tomatoes that when we see them in a new way, it’s going to be novel. That mornay sauce screams creamy, smooth and delicious. Nice pair with the tomatoes.

  • http://duodishes.wordpress.com The Duo Dishes

    We’re so used to fried green tomatoes that when we see them in a new way, it’s going to be novel. That mornay sauce screams creamy, smooth and delicious. Nice pair with the tomatoes.

  • http://www.sugarbar.org/ diva

    oh i do love a good gratin. i have read quite a few posts on green tomatoes. i can’t find these anywhere though!! maybe if i could at a farmers’ market or Borough market in london..hmmmm. does it taste pretty much the same as a normal red tomato? x

    • marc

      Flavour is more “green” than a red tomato. It’s less sweet, more tart, not as wet and it cooks nicely because it is much firmer.

  • http://www.sugarbar.org diva

    oh i do love a good gratin. i have read quite a few posts on green tomatoes. i can’t find these anywhere though!! maybe if i could at a farmers’ market or Borough market in london..hmmmm. does it taste pretty much the same as a normal red tomato? x

    • marc

      Flavour is more “green” than a red tomato. It’s less sweet, more tart, not as wet and it cooks nicely because it is much firmer.

  • http://elrasbaking.blogspot.com/ elra

    Delicious and always creative!

  • http://elrasbaking.blogspot.com elra

    Delicious and always creative!

  • http://cookappeal.blogspot.com/ chef E

    I agree with duo dish, very novel! I am ready for fresh summer tomatoes…

  • http://cookappeal.blogspot.com chef E

    I agree with duo dish, very novel! I am ready for fresh summer tomatoes…

  • http://www.thedailyspud.com/ Daily Spud

    I love me some green tomatoes too – I’ll have to return to this later in the summer when, hopefully, green tomatoes will abound…

  • http://www.thedailyspud.com Daily Spud

    I love me some green tomatoes too – I’ll have to return to this later in the summer when, hopefully, green tomatoes will abound…

  • http://www.shesimmers.com Leela@shesimmers

    Ah, I see you have found some green tomatoes. :)
    Great looking dish, Marc. You got all kinds of textures and flavors going on here. I’m a big fan of green tomatoes myself and this dish is definitely a must-try.

  • http://www.shesimmers.com/ Leela@shesimmers

    Ah, I see you have found some green tomatoes. :)
    Great looking dish, Marc. You got all kinds of textures and flavors going on here. I’m a big fan of green tomatoes myself and this dish is definitely a must-try.

  • http://www.diaryofafanaticfoodie.com/ heather

    i have already emailed this to a friend to tell her we need to make it!! yum!!!!

  • http://www.diaryofafanaticfoodie.com heather

    i have already emailed this to a friend to tell her we need to make it!! yum!!!!

  • http://closetcooking.blogspot.com/ Kevin

    I have been looking for new green tomato recipes and this one is definitely a must try!

  • http://closetcooking.blogspot.com Kevin

    I have been looking for new green tomato recipes and this one is definitely a must try!

  • http://www.whatdoiwant2cooktoday.blogspot.com/ Jan

    Wow that looks so good! I’ve never seen green tomatoes for sale here. Lovely recipe.

  • http://www.whatdoiwant2cooktoday.blogspot.com Jan

    Wow that looks so good! I’ve never seen green tomatoes for sale here. Lovely recipe.

  • http://culinarydisaster.com/wordpress Jeff

    I was scared the midwest was going to go from winter to summer but thankfully we have managed to drop back into spring weather and rain the rest of the week.

    Do you know what variety of tomato that is? Kind of looks like a brandywine.

    My artery just closed up but there is a smile on my face. Sounds amazing and I can’t wait for green tomato season here. Ranks up there with zucchini flower season.

    • marc

      The forecast here says it’s going back down in temp tomorrow, so hopefully it will last for a while.

      I think it’s an ordinary beefsteak tomato.

  • http://culinarydisaster.com/wordpress Jeff

    I was scared the midwest was going to go from winter to summer but thankfully we have managed to drop back into spring weather and rain the rest of the week.

    Do you know what variety of tomato that is? Kind of looks like a brandywine.

    My artery just closed up but there is a smile on my face. Sounds amazing and I can’t wait for green tomato season here. Ranks up there with zucchini flower season.

    • marc

      The forecast here says it’s going back down in temp tomorrow, so hopefully it will last for a while.

      I think it’s an ordinary beefsteak tomato.

  • http://foodhuntress.blogspot.com/ enrisa marie

    Hello. My nth visit to your blog. I’m learning a lot from you. I also like your writing “voice” – so erudite and down to earth. Keep it up. :)

  • http://foodhuntress.blogspot.com enrisa marie

    Hello. My nth visit to your blog. I’m learning a lot from you. I also like your writing “voice” – so erudite and down to earth. Keep it up. :)

  • http://passionateeater.blogspot.com/ Passionate Eater

    Loving unripened fruits and veggies is totally natural Marc! Unless of course, you love unripened persimmons. Then, I would be surprised by you. I love this amazing gratin idea, and have now been inspired to incorporate green tomatoes in my everyday meals!

  • http://passionateeater.blogspot.com Passionate Eater

    Loving unripened fruits and veggies is totally natural Marc! Unless of course, you love unripened persimmons. Then, I would be surprised by you. I love this amazing gratin idea, and have now been inspired to incorporate green tomatoes in my everyday meals!

  • http://www.cindydaperky.blogspot.com/ CindydaPerky

    WOW. That looks amazing! Not just the food but the photographs. You have a great eye! I will definitely be trying this recipe :)

    Can’t wait to see more!

  • http://www.cindydaperky.blogspot.com CindydaPerky

    WOW. That looks amazing! Not just the food but the photographs. You have a great eye! I will definitely be trying this recipe :)

    Can’t wait to see more!

  • http://manggy.blogspot.com/ Manggy

    Yeah, unripe fruits are a challenge– Filipinos are good at that but I haven’t picked it up yet :/ In the meantime I can just stare at your beautiful gratin.
    Theoretically if you make your creme anglaise with all-cream, it will be very resistant to curdling. Good luck! (Good luck finding a green peach!)

  • http://manggy.blogspot.com Manggy

    Yeah, unripe fruits are a challenge– Filipinos are good at that but I haven’t picked it up yet :/ In the meantime I can just stare at your beautiful gratin.
    Theoretically if you make your creme anglaise with all-cream, it will be very resistant to curdling. Good luck! (Good luck finding a green peach!)

  • http://www.weareneverfull.com/ we are never full

    i absolutely love this. i bet you a cross-cut on this baby would be beautiful. you are real bad w/ that mornay sauce.

    btw… i think we’ll finally be meeting each other on monday – will we see you at esca?

  • http://www.weareneverfull.com we are never full

    i absolutely love this. i bet you a cross-cut on this baby would be beautiful. you are real bad w/ that mornay sauce.

    btw… i think we’ll finally be meeting each other on monday – will we see you at esca?

  • http://www.realepicurean.com/ Scott at Realepicurean

    The whole green tomato thing is a little lost on me. Are they just normal toms, but not yet ripe?

    • marc

      Yep, just normal tomatoes that aren’t yet ripe. That take of a very different character from ripe tomatoes. Firm, tart, and with a much more vegetal flavour.

  • http://www.realepicurean.com Scott at Realepicurean

    The whole green tomato thing is a little lost on me. Are they just normal toms, but not yet ripe?

    • marc

      Yep, just normal tomatoes that aren’t yet ripe. That take of a very different character from ripe tomatoes. Firm, tart, and with a much more vegetal flavour.

  • http://noshesthoughtsreves.blogspot.com/ Lady Amalthea

    Unfortunately, I realized too late that I was out of heavy cream, so I just baked the tomatoes with butter, parmesan and the panko crust. Fantastic! Thanks for such a great idea.

  • http://noshesthoughtsreves.blogspot.com/ Lady Amalthea

    Unfortunately, I realized too late that I was out of heavy cream, so I just baked the tomatoes with butter, parmesan and the panko crust. Fantastic! Thanks for such a great idea.

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  • Laurendillayemckinney

    I am about to make this with my garden bounty, tripling the recipe for a crowd. Great idea.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/KiNgDeeM Nicholas Teri

     Bookmarked! Another recipe I cant wait to try. <3 Fried green tomatoes, wish you would post the green tomato relish you spoke of.

  • mike

    Awesome recipe–I’m always looking for things to do with green tomatoes. But after 10-15 mins. at 450 the tomatoes were still a bit crunchy for my taste (though with the sauce it almost doesn’t matter), so I threw them back in the oven at a little lower temp to stew a bit more.

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