Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Summer Vegetable Gratin

***I was so excited when I opened the July/August 2008 issue of Cooks Illustrated magazine. I saw this recipe and knew that I had to try it...especially with all of the fresh summer produce that's available.

I got to visit the Trussville Farmers Market recently, where I bought some beautiful veggies...yellow squash, red tomatoes, green tomatoes, and heirloom tomatoes. So, this was the perfect time to make this gratin. If you're ever in the area, you should definitely stop by Andy Kemp's booth. He's with A & P Farms out of Gallant, AL and Starkville, MS. He had a wonderful assortment of fresh great prices! He even let me sample an heirloom tomato...I had never had one!
The Trussville Farmers Market is open from 2 - 6 on Tuesdays (across the street from the Trussville Antique Mall).

The mixture of squash, zucchini, and tomatoes in this dish is delicious...and very healthy. You'll REALLY enjoy this one! I'll certainly be making it again.***

6 Tbsp. olive oil
1 lb zucchini, ends trimmed and cut crosswise into 1/4 thick slices
1 lb summer squash, ends trimmed and cut crosswise into 1/4 thick slices
***2 lbs of only zucchini or only summer squash can be substituted***
2 tsp salt
3 large ripe tomatoes sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 yellow onions, cut in half and then thinly sliced from pole to pole
black pepper to taste
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press
1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves minced
3/4 cup bread crumbs
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 minced shallots (about 2 medium)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

Preheat oven to 400. Place the oven rack in the upper middle position. Brush a 9x13 pan with 1Tbsp of olive oil and set aside.

Combine sliced zucchini and squash with 1tsp salt in a large bowl and then transfer the salted veggies to a colander set over the bowl. Let stand for about 45 minutes, the veggies will release about 3 Tbsps of liquid.

Arrange tomato slices in a single layer over double layer paper towels and sprinkle evenly with 1/2 tsp salt and let stand for about 30 minutes. After that time, place a second double layer of paper towels over the tomatoes and press firmly to dry them.

Meanwhile, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add onions, 1/2 tsp salt and black pepper to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and dark golden brown, about 20 minutes. Set onions aside.

Combine garlic, 3 Tbsp olive oil, black pepper to taste and thyme in a small bowl. In a large bowl, mix the zucchini and squash in half of the garlic oil mixture.

Pour zucchini and squash in the greased 9x13 pan. Arrange the caramelized onions in a single layer over the squash. Place the tomato slices slightly overlapping in a single layer over the onions. Spoon the remaining garlic oil mixture evenly over the tomatoes.

Bake 40 to 45 minutes, tomatoes will have started to brown around the edges and the vegetables are tender.

Mix breadcrumbs, 1 Tbsp oil, Parmesan and shallots in a bowl. Remove baking dish from the oven and increase heat to 450 degrees. Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture on top of tomatoes. Bake about 5 to 10 minutes more, the gratin will be bubbling and the cheese will be lightly browned.

Sprinkle with basil and let rest for about 10 minutes are room temperature before serving.

Red Pepper Variation: Replace 3 roasted red peppers, skinned and cut into 1 inch pieces for 1 lb of the squash (do not SALT the roasted peppers). The Parmesan cheese can be substituted with one cup shredded mozzarella.
Source: Cooks Illustrated magazine; July/August 2008


Joelen said...

What a great recipe! Your picture is beautiful too. I've been trying to find unique ways to use veggies and so I really appreciate this one! Thanks!

Liz said...

I also marked that recipe! Looks great!

Anonymous said...

this looks great! I love zuchinni and squash with tomatoes so this is a definite must-try!

Anonymous said...

This looks delicious and refreshing for the summer days..I look forward to trying it. How did the heirloom hold up to the other tomatoes on the market?