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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Summer Squash and Tomato Gratin

Edit: We revisited this recipe, and now I'd recommend skipping the milk. See here for the revised recipe.

This is a super easy and delicious way to use the wonderful produce we have so much of in Summer. Kyle took the lead on this recipe but he said I could still blog about it because it tasted so good!

We were originally going to make ratatouille and leave out the eggplant (since we didn't have any and don't particularly love it), but then we decided that a gratin sounded better to us last night. This dish was partially inspired by a gratin recipe from The Kitchn and partially inspired by a recipe from an America's Test Kitchen cookbook, which I love by the way. Although if you order it, go through Amazon because the ATK company takes like 4 weeks to ship!

So here's what we did:

Kyle washed and sliced 4 yellow and orange squash and 1 zucchini into thin coins using our food processor. The squash was a farmer's market find and the zucchini was from our really nice upstairs neighbor's garden. You can also slice them by hand or with a mandoline, but the food processor is awesome because it's so quick. We blanched and froze half the slices to use later, but you could use them all if you're cooking for more than two. Just be sure to use a bigger pan and increase the other ingredients.

Kyle spread some olive oil in a 9" square pan and tossed the sliced squash and zucchini with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. He layered a third of the squash and zucchini on the bottom and sprinkled salt and pepper over them. He then spread about 2 ounces mozarella on top. He then repeated the squash (+salt and pepper) and mozarella layers and topped it off with a final squash layer with more salt and pepper. I sprinkled on about a tablespoon dried basil and he drizzled on 1/4 cup milk. Then deciding it needed something more, we added some leftover chopped tomato and sliced another one and stuck that on top. I sprinkled it with about 2 teaspoons dried thyme (I really have no idea, I'm just estimating here. Put on whatever you think looks good.) and some more cheese. Prep only took about 10-15 minutes.

We baked it in the oven at 400 for 30 minutes uncovered. We then sprinkled about a quarter cup breadcrumbs on top and let it bake for 5 more minutes. We pulled it out, took a couple pictures and ate!

Man was it good! We both promptly decided that this is our new favorite way to have squash.  The tomatoes on top had roasted in the oven and their juices drained down and really gave the dish some deep flavor. I wouldn't change anything next time, except maybe I'd make more. (And possibly add mushrooms, parmesean, fresh herbs instead.... I'm really incapable of making the exact same recipe twice I think. But this didn't really need anything more, I just like experimenting.)

In summary, here's approximately what you need:

2-3 squash/ zucchini
6 oz mozarella (we used part-skim, but whatever you have works)
1 1/2 tomatoes
1/4 cup breadcrumbs (crushed croutons could substitute)
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon dried basil
2 teaspoons dried thyme
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil

This yields 4 servings

Feel free to play around with the ingredients and use whatever fresh summer produce you have on hand and whatever herbs and spices you like!

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