Have you ever made a hard-cooked egg gratin before? I hadn't, until I tried Jacques Pepin's Egg and Onion Gratin, and you know what...it became one of my all-time favorite dishes! It's truly delicious, and different enough to pique interest. Jacques' Egg and Onion Gratin consistsof hard-cooked eggs cut into slices or wedges, covered in a creamy bechamel sauce, with sauteed onions and Gruyere cheese, then broiled until it becomes all brown and bubbly on top. Scoop some of that deliciousness on top of some toast and it is downright delicious!
After my success with the Egg and Onion Gratin, I wanted to try my hand at Jacques' healthier egg gratin, Egg and Tomato Gratin. This recipe is much healthier. The hard-cooked eggs are covered with a quick homemade tomato sauce and then topped with Gruyere. I went a little light-handed on the cheese to keep things light and fresh and enjoyed this over my favorite toasted country bread.
The Egg and Onion Gratin is definitely my favorite between the two, however, the Egg and Tomato Gratin is definitely better for this time of year when you're craving lighter, fresher, healthier dishes! You can't go wrong with either one!
Egg and Tomato Gratin
Adapted from Food My Way
by Jacques Pepin
6 large eggs
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, sliced, about 2 cups
4 teaspoons chopped garlic
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
salt and pepper, to taste
1 (14-ounce) can peeled tomatoes
2/3 cup grated Swiss (Gruyere, Emmenthaler, Mozzarella, Manchego) cheese
To make the hard-boiled eggs: Poke the rounded end of each egg with a pushpin to help prevent it from cracking, and lower the eggs into a saucepan of boiling water to cover. Bring the water back to a boil, then boil the eggs very gently for 10 minutes. Drain and cool in ice water for at least 15 minutes, or until the centers of the eggs are completely cool. Peel the eggs and cut each of them into 6 wedges. Arrange the egg wedges into a 6-cup capacity gratin dish or baking dish.
To make the gratin: Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the onions and saute for about 2 minutes, then add the garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper. Crush the tomatoes into pieces and add them along with their juice to the skillet. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat, and boil gently, covered, for 4 minutes.
Pour the onion and tomato mixture over the eggs in the gratin dish and sprinkle the cheese on top. Bake the gratin for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the broiler. When the gratin is cooked, broil 3 to 4 inches from the heat source for 2 to 3 minutes to brown the top. Serve.
Note about hard-cooked eggs: It's important to cook eggs properly. Pricking them before cooking helps relieve the pressure created in the air chamber surrounding the whites of the eggs as they are placed in the boiling water. Air bubbles will emerge, and the eggs will be much less likely to break.
Lower the eggs into boiling water and cook them at a very gentle boil; rapid boiling toughens them. After 10 minutes, drain off the water and shake the pan to crack the eggshells. Cover the eggs with cold water and ice and leave them in the ice water long enough to cool completely inside. This technique prevents the exterior of the yolks from turning green, eliminates the strong smell of sulfur and ensures that they will be perfectly cooked.