Toulouse-Lautrec's Pumpkin Gratin
Adapted from Jane Grigson's Vegetable Book by Jane Grigson (University of Nebraska Press, 2007)
Not inspired by the famous painter, but actually created by him, this is a wonderful way to prepare pumpkin that's different from the more common versions that accompany its flavors with those of the sweet spices. If you happen to find time to make this when both tomatoes and pumpkins are ripe and good, by all means use them fresh, though canned tomatoes are a fine alternative at this time of year.
- 2 lbs. pumpkin
- ½ lb. tomatoes, peeled and cut coarsely
- 1 lb. onions, sliced thinly
- ½ cup fresh breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- Olive oil, for cooking
- Salt, sugar, and black pepper, to taste
- Peel the pumpkin, And cut into wedges. Remove the seeds and pith from the inside, and reserve any extra pumpkin flesh for another recipe. Cut the pumpkin wedges into ¼-inch slices, about an inch and a half square. Toss them in flour to coat, and fry them in oil over medium heat until golden, but not brown. You'll need to cook them in batches to avoid crowding. Set them aside on paper towels to drain.
- In a pan over medium-low heat, cook the onions in oil until soft and translucent. Add the tomatoes and raise the heat when they start releasing their juices. Break down the tomatoes with a wooden spoon, until you have a mix of onions bathed in tomato. Season well with salt, pepper, and a little sugar if necessary.
- Layer the pumpkin and onion-tomato mixture in a gratin dish, seasoning the pumpkin slices as you go. Finish with pumpkin as the top layer, and cover evenly with the breadcrumbs. Drizzle the melted butter over all, and bake in the oven at 350°F until bubbling at the sides, about 45 minutes. If the top needs to brown further, slide under the broiler for a few moments. Serve immediately.