Saturday, July 14, 2012

French bread basket

My latest acquisition from the Antiques Garage here in Manhattan is a bread basket. The dealer thought it to be French silver-plate from a well-known company, but, unfortunately, the name escaped him and the basket lacks markings. Is it old? That is hard to say. I am hoping - you the reader - might know more.

In the meanwhile, I will using the basket when I serve a hearty demi-baguette with a wonderful Jacques Pepin recipe from Fast Food My Way.

Egg and Tomato gratin

6 large eggs
2 tablespoons good olive oil 
2 medium onions (about 12 ounces), sliced (about 2 1/2 cups)
4 teaspoons chopped garlic
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (14 ounce) can peeled tomatoes
2/3 cup grated Swiss (Gruyére or Emmenthaler) or mozzarella cheese (2 1/2 ounces)

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 six wedges. 

Arrange the wedges in a 6-cup capacity gratin dish or baking dish. 

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 sauté´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 an 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. 

A simple salad of lettuce greens with dijon vinaigrette and a dry white wine completes this simple summer fare. Pass the bread and butter! 


  1. Dahhhling, what a beautiful basket! Old or not.

  2. For escapist reverie and teasing inspiration I happen to have been reading through many handlings of eggs in the Larousse Gastronomique, and again I am stunned by the extravagant sociability of this literal miracle. I think it's irresistibly fitting for you to associate this metaphor for generosity with the "fare" you propose, which 'au fond' could not be more grand in its elements. I very much admire and rely on the genius of silver, too, for just this perception of our fortune. There will be no end to this acquisition's support of gratitude.


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