Sunday, August 4, 2013

Farmers Market Zucchini Tomato Gratin

Now is the best time to make simple vegetable gratins.  Summer vegetables are at their peak at farmers markets and grocery stores and gardens are starting to burst at the seams.   Combinations like tomatoes with zucchini or shucked and shaved corn* with sweet or hot peppers show off the best of the season.  Summer gratins are easy and a lot faster than their winter cousins.

The key to this gratin is a thin layer of sliced vegetables beneath a crisp gratin coating.  The vegetables, baked in a single layer, steam in their own juices as the cheese and garlic-infused topping crisps. 

Make two, using two pie plates, if you are serving more than 4 people.

Farmers Market Zucchini Tomato Gratin
Serves 2-3 as a side

2 small zucchini or one large monster from your garden
1 medium tomato
¼  large onion
1 Tablespoon olive oil
Gratin topping
1 heaping tablespoon grated Parmesan Cheese
1 heaping tablespoon fresh bread crumbs
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

  1. Preheat oven to 400˚F.
  2. Thinly slice zucchini, tomato and onion.  The zucchini looks very pretty cut on with a diagonal bias.  Slices should be no more than ¼ inch thick.
  3. Using half the oil, lay a thin film of oil on a glass pie plate.   Lay the vegetables on the pie plate in an alternating circular pattern with zucchini and tomatoes overlapping and the onion slices tucked between the two other vegetables.  Use only a few slivers of onion between each slice of zucchini and tomato.  Create only one layer.   
  4. In a small bowl, mix together the cheese, bread crumbs and remaining ingredients.  Sprinkle the topping over the vegetables.    Sprinkle the remaining olive oil over crumbs.  
  5. Bake at 400˚F for 25-30 minutes until the vegetables are very soft and the topping is browned and crisped.   
  6. Remove from oven and serve hot or room temperature with a drizzle if high quality extra virgin olive oil. 

Leftovers are great nestled into a hard roll or ciabatta for a sandwich-snack.

*Add a few tablespoons of water to the gratin dish to help the corn steam or use leftover cooked corn.