Tomato Artichoke Gratin

McGuire's Irish Pub Recipe

Serves 8

2 (14.5 oz.) cans whole tomatoes
14 ounces frozen artichoke hearts, thawed, liquid reserved (1-1/2 boxes)
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
8 turns freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons melted butter, divided
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon dried sage, divided
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups medium fine cornbread crumbs
1 cup grated Gruyere or aged Swiss cheese
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese, optional

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-cup gratin pan or shallow casserole. Set aside.

Drain the tomatoes and thawed artichokes, reserving and combining their liquids. Measure out 1/2 cup of this liquid and set aside. Quarter the tomatoes, discarding the seeds. Cut into eighths. Quarter the artichoke hearts. Combine both in a bowl and toss with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 4 turns of pepper.

Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until it's soft and golden. Stir in the flour and cook about 4 minutes, stirring constantly, until mixture is golden.

Gradually stir in the 1/2 cup of reserved tomato-artichoke liquid, 1/2 teaspoon of the sage, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 4 turns of pepper. Cook, stirring, until mixture thickens. Slowly stir in the milk and cook, stirring often, until the mixture becomes a creamy gravy. Remove from heat and fold in the tomatoes and artichoke hearts.

Pour mixture into the buttered baking dish. Make cornbread crumbs by placing broken-up cornbread in a food processor to make medium-fine crumbs. Combine them with the grated cheese, adding a tablespoon of grated Parmesan, if desired, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon dried sage. Spread evenly on top of the vegetables. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter and drizzle over the topping.

Bake until the mixture is golden and bubbly, 25 to 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Serve hot or warm.

Recipe from McGuire's Irish Pub, a popular 400 seat restaurant in Pensacola, Fla., with a second location in Destin, Fla.