Monday, July 29, 2013

Summer Squash Gratin

I love gratins. Well, I suppose I just like anything that is slowly baked with bubbling cheese. I make lots of gratin in the winter, especially with copious amounts of kale and chard. Every once in a while in the summer, I cave in and turn on the oven to make one with my summer vegetables. Thankfully, the weather has tamed a bit and turning on the oven isn't as crazy as it seems.

Antohi pepper is an Italian pepper that is well-suited for sautéing. However, if Antohi is a difficult pepper to find, then red sweet italian peppers or a red bell pepper can easily work in this recipe.

The original NY Times recipe calls for a cup of cooked rice. I opted instead to add breadcrumbs on the top, because I like the texture of them a bit better. However, if you want a little more sticking power with this meal, add a cup of cooked white or brown rice towards the end when the milk mixture and vegetables are mixed. 

Also, this recipe would make a great breakfast casserole. Just increase the egg amount to two eggs. Maybe throw in some crumbled bacon as well.

Summer Squash Gratin
adapted from The NYTimes

makes 4 to 6 servings

2 Tbsp oil
1 spring onion or half a yellow onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 lbs zucchini or other summer squash, cut in half moons about 1/4-inch thick
2 antohi peppers, or other small sweet peppers, diced
1 tsp salt, divided
black pepper
1 egg
1/2 c milk
1/2 c packed white cheddar or mozzarella cheese (I used a combo)
1/4 c grated parmesan cheese
1/3 c breadcrumbs
1/4 tsp dried thyme leaves or about 1 tsp fresh
1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil or 2 Tbsp fresh parsley for garnish

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a two-quart baking dish with butter or oil. 

In a large frying pan, heat oil on medium heat. Add onion and fry until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, black pepper, garlic, squash, and peppers. Turn up heat to medium-high. Saute vegetables, stirring regularly, until squash is almost translucent and nearly tender, about 10 minutes. The squash will cook further in the oven. Set aside to cool slightly, about 5 minutes. Add more salt and pepper to taste.

In a bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and cheese. In a small bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, and thyme. 

Gently mix together the sauteed vegetables and milk-egg mixture. Pour into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with breadcrumb mixture. 

Cook for about 35 to 40 minutes, or until nicely browned on the top and on the edges. Let cool for about 10 minutes. Garnish with basil or parsley. 


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