Saturday, August 27, 2011

One Great Zucchini Gratin

This gratin knocked my socks off. In no small part, I'm sure, due to the zucchini I picked from father's garden just hours before... but still, this is one to remember.

The top delivers that to-die-for crunch that always elevates vegetable, well really all, dishes for me, and the almost instant beschamel sauce is just that, almost instant, adding a lovely, creamy dimension to the zucchini in no time.
To make this, start with zucchini or squash, or a combination (which adds such lovely color).
Chop them up into 1/4 inch slices.
Saute for 10 minutes.
Add some flour and nutmeg.
Add some hot milk.
And, instantly: you have a beschamel on your hands.

Put that in a baking dish.
Cover with a mixture of breadcrumbs and Gruyere (or any other good melting cheese).
Dot with butter.
Pop in the oven for about 20 minutes, until golden brown.
Then... dish it up.
And, don't worry if you cannot restrain yourself from eating it all. I couldn't.

Zucchini Gratin (adapted from the barefoot contessa)
6 Tablespoons butter
2 lbs zucchini, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 teaspoons salt**
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup hot milk
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
3/4 cup Gruyere, shredded

Preheat oven to 400.

In a 12-inch skilled, melt the butter. Saute zucchini for 10 minutes, or until just tender. Add salt, pepper, and nutmeg, and cook for another 5 minutes. Stir in the flour. Add the milk, cooking over low heat for a few minutes until it makes a sauce.*** Pour the mixture into an 8x10 baking dish.

Combine the breadcrumbs and Gruyere, and sprinkle over the zucchini. Dot with 1 Tablespoon butter, cut into bits. Bake 20 minutes, until golden brown.

*I cut this recipe in half and used an 8 x 8 dish, but the cooking time was the same.
**I did tablespoons instead of teaspoons when I made this, which was a mistake, but after scraping some salt off the cooking zucchini, it managed to be okay... Well, pretty much okay...
***This happened in under a minute for me.