Auflauf, gratin, casserole…? Because I am 1) living in Germany, 2) obsessed with french cookbooks, and 3) decidedly American at heart, I sometimes just don’t know what to call the things I make for dinner. Gratin? no… this isn’t elegant enough to be called a gratin. Casserole? no… this conjures images of canned tuna and cream of mushroom soup. Auflauf? what in the world is auflauf?? (answer: it’s the German word for casserole). OK then, we’ll go with “auflauf”. Besides, assonant words tickle my fancy… pow-wow, humdrum, teeny-weeny, sci-fi, potpourri, soporific… let’s add “auflauf” to the list.
Whatever one decides to call it, this is an incredibly simple dish to prepare. The only prep work is to seed and chop the tomatoes, chop an onion, sliver some basil, and mix the cheeses together. There is no precooking (no sweating onions, blanching tomatoes, etc), so the dish comes together in about 10 minutes.
The end product has a fairly loose consistency, and spreads a little on the plate. Creamy, fresh, and just a little spicy, the auflauf is delicious eaten on its own or scooped onto warm bread. And although I haven’t tried it, I imagine it would also be tasty spooned over pasta or polenta, or perhaps mixed with cooked whole grains for a summer grain salad (I am imagining a mixture of barley, farro, wheat berries, etc). Or of course, you can follow the original idea from Simply Recipes and make it into a pie.
Long live auflauf! :)
Tomato and Cheese Auflauf
Adapted from Tomato Pie at Simply Recipes
serves 3-4, depending on accompaniments
~1 1/4 lbs ripe tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 medium red onion, chopped
1/4 c. basil, slivered
Salt and Pepper
2 c. grated mixed cheese (suggestion: 2/3 c. mozzarella, 2/3 c. cheddar, 2/3 c. gouda)
3/4 c. mayonnaise
1/2 T. Tabasco or other hot pepper sauce
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a medium sized casserole dish.
Spread chopped tomatoes over the bottom of the casserole, then sprinkle evenly with the red onion and basil. Season liberally with pepper, and lightly with salt.
Mix the cheese, mayonnaise, and hot pepper sauce in a bowl, then evenly spread over the top of the tomatoes. Bake until bubbly and golden brown, about 45 minutes. Enjoy!