04 Apr TOMATO, ONION, AND POTATO AU GRATIN WITH THYME AND JUNIPER/ CHARLOTTE DE POMMES D’AMOUR
11/2 lbs onions, peeled
½ cup duck fat or first pressed olive oil
11/2 lbs tomatoes, peeled and thickly sliced
11/2 lbs potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
3 sprigs fresh thyme, coarsely chopped
8 juniper berries, crushed
2 bay leaves
sea salt and ground peeper to taste
Preheat the oven 325 F.
Cut the onions in half down the middle and slice the two halves thinly. Heat 2 tbsp of duck fat or olive oil in heavy, nonstick skillet. Add the onions, season with salt and pepper, then soften for 30 minutes over low heat. Stir frequently to prevent them from sticking or become too brown; they should soften and almost caramelize in their own juice. Drain well.
Meanwhile, soften the tomatoes gently in a similar pan with 4 tbsp of duck fat or olive oil, and salt and pepper. Cook over a low heat for about 8 minutes or until the juices have thickened; the pieces should remain fairly whole. Stir gently from time to time.
Put the slices of potato in a bowl, mix them with the remaining duck fat or olive oil, and season well. Add thyme and juniper berries and mix the potatoes around with your hands to coat them perfectly.
Lightly grease an oval gratin dish and layer the vegetables; first some potato, then some onion, then some tomatoes. Place bay leaves on top of tomatoes, then put in more potato, onions, and tomatoes, and finish with a layer of potato.
Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour. It should be brown and crunchy on the top and succulent inside.