[vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”5273″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Ok, so you’re feeling a bit stressed! Maybe you do want to cook and maybe you don’t. I think you should give it a try for two reasons.
Firstly this is a typical Denis Cotter recipe, it’s quite involved. You have four separate elements to prepare which you then combine. It takes about an hour to prep but for me this is perfect. I can’t think of a better way to unwind.
Reason two isn’t a bad one either. I cooked this recently and was blown away by it. I’m a huge admirer of Dennis’s work, his recipes are all about getting the same complexity of flavour and pure culinary pleasure without using meat. You can even do the prep the day before and get some pals over, assemble and pop it in the oven on the night. Stress, what stress???
Oh and don’t forget the Mars Bar ice creams for dessert, it’s a night to go easy on yourself.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]

Serves Four

[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”5274″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]8-10 large tomatoes

salt & pepper to season

drizzle of olive oil


80g fine breadcrumbs

80g Gabriel cheese, grated

1 sprig thyme

2 tablespoons butter, melted


60mls vegetable stock

60mls white wine

300mls cream

Small bunch chives, chopped

1 teaspoon hot mustard


32 asparagus spears[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Heat oven to 190oc/375oF.  Slice a thin sliver off the top and bottom of the tomatoes, then cut the tomatoes across into thick slices, three or four from each.  You will need 36 slices in all for four portions.  Place the slices on oven trays lined with baking parchment or greaseproof paper, season with salt and pepper, and drizzle lightly with olive oil.  Roast the tomatoes until they are lightly browned and semi-dried.  Depending on your oven, you may need to turn the slices once to the cook them evenly on both sides.

Mix the breadcrumbs with all but one tablespoon of the cheese, the thyme and the butter.  Season with salt and pepper.

Bring the stock and wine to the boil in a small pan, and reduce it to about half its volume.  Add the cream and mustard, bring it back to the boil and simmer for two to three minutes or so to thicken the sauce to a pouring consistency.

At the same time, boil or steam the asparagus for two or three minutes until just tender.

Heat a grill.  On each plate, place six slices of tomato, a neat line-up of three by two, and cover this with five asparagus spears.  Place a single layer of tomato slices on top, and three more asparagus spears over the tomatoes.  Spoon a little of the mustard cream over the vegetables, then finish with a generous sprinkling of the crumble.  Cook the gratins under a hot grill for two or three minutes until the cream is bubbling and the top is crisp and browned.  Put the remaining cream back on the stove, whisk in the rest of the Gabriel cheese and the chives, and pour this mixture around the gratins.

Serve with some simple new potatoes (perfect at this time of year) sitting in the cream around the gratin, or even a few mounds of mash.

You could also finish this dish in an oven instead of on individual plates, as follows.  Place a layer of tomato slices in an oven dish, cover this with a layer of asparagus, then pour over the thickened cream and finish with a generous sprinkling of the crumble.  Bake for ten minutes until the cream is bubbling and the top is crisp and browned.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]