Thanks to my friend Diane, I went to see a movie and came home with a cornucopia of fresh, organic produce. Diane, a Master Gardener who specializes in edible gardens, had been to a garden swap and brought two huge baskets full of veggies, including some unique varieties of heirloom tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, etc. with names I don’t remember, and encouraged us to take whatever we wanted. It was a veritable farmers market in the Regal Cinema’s parking lot!
Now, with a huge bowl of veggies from Diane and my garden on my kitchen counter, I set to thumbing through my cookbooks and the gorgeous two-page photo spread of the mise-en-place for Summer Vegetable Gratin in Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc At Home caught my eye. Here tomatoes, squash, and eggplant are layered on a cooked onions and baked with a cheese and bread crumb topping. I actually sliced an eggplant but didn’t use it because my baking dish was smaller than the 9×13 suggested and I reduced the amount of onions and tomatoes that the recipe called for.
The recipe states that this is a good dish to assemble ahead and then bake before serving. I ended up hurrying to slice everything up and get it in the oven as soon as the Young Baker was finished making the cookies she was taking to a sleepover and in my hurry forgot to sprinkle the fresh breadcrumbs that I had made on top. Not to worry, this didn’t stop us from devouring every bit of this gratin down to the delicious vegetable juices in the bottom of the baking dish. Light in comparison to most gratins, this dish makes an excellent side to any protein or a satisfying meatless main with a side of quinoa, brown rice or a slice of hearty whole grain bread.
- 1 medium yellow squash
- 1 medium zucchini
- 1 medium tomato
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 cup onion chopped
- 2 garlic cloves finely grated with a microplane
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme chopped
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- freshly ground pepper
- ½ cup bread crumbs
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Using a mandolin or sharp knife, thinly slice (¼ inch) the yellow squash, zucchini, and tomato as close in size as possible.
Heat the canola oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Reduce to med-low, add the onions and garlic and cook without browning, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent, about 15 minutes. Remove from burner. Stir in the thyme.
Combine the yellow squash and zucchini in a large bowl and toss with the olive oil, and season with salt. Drizzle the slices of tomato with olive oil and season with salt.
Combine the Parmesan, bread crumbs, and thyme.
Spread the onion mixture in the bottom of an 8½ inch round shallow baking dish. Layer the vegetables in the dish overlapping the slices in a circle beginning with the zucchini. Then a circle of yellow squash overlapping the zucchini and ending up with a center of overlapping tomato slices. Sprinkle with half the cheese mixture and continue making overlapping rows with the remaining vegetables, and sprinkle with remaining cheese mixture.
Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour (depending on the depth of your pan) until the vegetables are tender (can be pierced easily with a knife). Remove from the oven and allow the gratin to rest for 10 minutes. If desired, turn on the broiler and place the gratin under the broiler to brown the top just before serving.
Recipe from Ad Hoc At Home by Thomas Keller.