Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Summer Vegetable Gratin

 If you have squash, zucchini, and tomatoes coming out of your ears this summer, this is a great way to use some up.  There are a few things I really like about this gratin:
  1. Even squash haters like my sister think its very tasty.
  2. It can be a side or light main dish.
  3. Tomatoes are magical when they're roasted
  4. Its delicious!
Its not the fastest dish to throw together, but most of the time is inactive time, just waiting for the vegetables to drain off their excess moisture.  A step I wouldn't recommend skipping unless you really like soggy, waterlogged vegetables.  I've now made this twice in the last 2 weeks, and I have plans to make it as much as I can before all the good veggies are gone!

One Year Ago:  Blueberry Shortcakes with Lemon-Thyme Biscuits

Summer Vegetable Gratin
source:  Cook's Illustrated
serves 6-8 as a side, or 4 as a light entree (and can be halved quite easily)
  • 6 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound zucchini, ends trimmed and sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 pound yellow squash, ends trimmed and sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch slices
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes (3-4 large), sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 2 medium onions, halved lengthwise and sliced thin (about 3 cups)
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 large slice good-quality white sandwich bread, torn into quarters
  • 2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 cup)
  • 2 medium shallots, minced (1/4 cup)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
Adjust the oven rack to the upper-middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees.  Lightly oil a 9x13 inch baking dish and set aside.

Toss zucchini and squash slices with 1 teaspoon of salt in a large colander, and allow to drain about 45 minutes, or until they release 3 Tablespoons of liquid.  Arrange slices on a triple layer of paper towels or a dish towel, cover with a clean dish towel, and press firmly to remove as much moisture as possible.

As the squash and zucchini drain, line another dish towel with the tomatoes, and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Allow to stand 30 minutes, then using a clean dish towel or paper towels, press firmly to dry the tomatoes.

Meanwhile, heat 1 Tablespoon of the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering.  Add the onions, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened and dark golden brown, about 20 minutes.  Set aside.

Combine the garlic, 3 Tablespoons of oil, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and thyme in a small bowl.  Whisk to combine.  In a large bowl, toss the squash and zucchini with half the garlic-oil mixture.  Arrange in the baking dish, then top with an even layer of the onions.  Slightly overlap the tomato slices in a single layer over the onions, and drizzle with the remaining oil mixture.  Bake until the vegetables are softened and tomatoes are starting to brown around the edges, 40-45 minutes. 

As the vegetables cook, pulse the bread in a food processor until finely ground (You should have about 1 cup of crumbs).  Combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan, 1 Tablespoon oil, and shallots in a medium bowl. 

Remove the baking dish from the oven and increase the heat to 450.  Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the vegetables, and bake gratin until bubbling and lightly browned, 5-10 minutes.  Remove from oven and sprinkle with basil.  Allow to sit at room temperature 10 minutes before serving.


Cyndi @ Weightless Life said...

That looks amazing!

eatme_delicious said...

This is such a great way to showcase summer vegetables!

Unknown said...

Drop dead gorgeous pics, this looks divine

Koek! said...

oh my - I am just going to HAVE to make this tonight!

Jen said...

Heaven in a baking dish...yum!

Jen said...

I have noticed that many CI recipes take forever and are not the most realistic for a weeknight dinner, but the end result is always really fantastic.

test it comm said...

What a great way to enjoy those summer vegetables!

Justine said...

This was awesome! I made it tonite. Only thing different I'd do was to skin the tomatoes, since they became tough after baking for so long. Or maybe it's just the tomatoes this year? So many have tough skins, it seems.

snowpeech said...

I just made this tonight in my dorm some substitutions were made. But it was DELICIOUS! I skipped a lot of steps (salting vegs mostly), replaced the thyme with generic "italian seasoning", used eggplant (sweated) instead of summer squash, and made our own breadcrumbs from toasty bread.. parm shavings instead of grated parm. Still totally delicious. I'm definitely going to make it again. Thanks!

Josie said...

Wow Snowpeech, this is quite an ambitious recipe for a dorm room - kudos to you!

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