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Teeny tomatoes star in a savory clafoutis

Recipe: Classic French dish gets a veggie makeover

Cherry tomato clafoutis
Cherry tomatoes peek through the herbs sprinkled over this savory clafoutis.
(Photos: Kathy Morrison)

Gardening is full of surprises. This year one of mine came from the vigorous plant that I thought would give me  ping-pong ball-size cherry tomatoes.  Instead, they're the size of large peas, or maybe small marbles. And the plant is huge, taller than me, so there are tons of them.

Well, they're cute, but too small for a BLT, that's for sure.

So what to do with this wealth of tiny tomatoes? I was inspired by the very word "cherry." Sweet cherries are great in the French dessert called clafoutis. How about a savory clafoutis featuring this micro crop?

As it turns out, a savory clafoutis is a great brunch dish or appetizer that holds beautifully at room temperature. Not weepy, like a quiche can be, or eggy like a frittata. I used plenty of herbs and just a bit of cheese, but feel free to add more on top if you like.

Ingredients
Herbs and cheese go into the clafoutis along with tomatoes,
milk, flour and eggs.

Savory cherry tomato clafoutis

Serves 6

Ingredients:

1/2 cup half-and-half or whole milk

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, divided

2 tablespoons grated mozzarella cheese (or fontina, Gruyere or cheddar)

3 tablespoons chopped mixed herbs such as parsley, basil, chives and thyme, divided

2-1/2 tablespoons butter, melted, plus more for greasing the pan

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Fresh grated black pepper, to taste

4 large eggs, room temperature

1/4 cup all-purpose flour (Wondra if you have it; it blends well)

About 2 cups small cherry tomatoes, stemmed

Unbaked clafoutis
The tomatoes are added last so you can get a good distribution

Instructions:

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter a 9-1/2-inch or 10-inch pie plate or baking dish. Whisk together in a large bowl the milk, 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon Parmesan, the mozzarella (or substitute), 2 tablespoons of the herbs, the melted butter, salt, pepper and the eggs.

Then whisk in the flour; it's OK if the mixture is a bit lumpy.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Gently sprinkle the tomatoes over the batter so they're evenly distributed. Then sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon Parmesan over the top. (Add more cheese of your choice here if you really like cheese and tomatoes.)

Bake for 20 minutes, or when the edges are golden brown and the center is set. Remove from the oven to cool and sprinkle the remaining herbs over the top.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

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RECIPE

A recipe for preparing delicious meals from the bounty of the garden.

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Garden Checklist for week of July 7

Take care of garden chores early in the morning, concentrating on watering. We’re still in survival mode until this heat wave breaks.

* Keep your vegetable garden watered, mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to conserve moisture.

* Prevent sunburn; provide temporary shade for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, squash and other crops with “sensitive” skin.

* Hold off on feeding plants until temperatures cool back down to “normal” range. That means daytime highs in the low to mid 90s.

* Don’t let tomatoes wilt or dry out completely. Give tomatoes a deep watering two to three times a week. Harvest vegetables promptly to encourage plants to produce more.

* Squash especially tends to grow rapidly in hot weather. Keep an eye on zucchini.

* Some weeds thrive in hot weather. Whack them before they go to seed.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushy plants and more flowers in September.

* Harvest tomatoes, squash, peppers and eggplant. Prompt picking will help keep plants producing.

* Remove spent flowers from roses, daylilies and other bloomers as they finish flowering.

* Pinch off blooms from basil so the plant will grow more leaves.

* Cut back lavender after flowering to promote a second bloom.

* One good thing about hot days: Most lawns stop growing when temperatures top 95 degrees. Keep mower blades set on high.

* Once the weather cools down a little, it’s not too late to add a splash of color. Plant petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.

* After the heat wave, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, winter squash and sunflowers. Make sure the seeds stay hydrated.

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