Friday, October 18, 2013

Zucchini and Tomato Gratin by Jacques Pepin from Colleen

A good use for zucchini
Hi Barb--

I made a very simple but good recipe from the Essential Pepin (Jacques Pepin) cookbook. 

The link shows a photo (which wasn't in the cookbook so I had to guess what to do about cutting the zucchini and I guessed wrong and only had cherry tomatoes, but it doesn't matter. The point is to cut the zucchini in thinnish strips so they will cook through in the oven.)

I did two layers of zucchini and tomatoes and put a little dried basil (fresh would be nice if on hand) and cheese and pepper in between the layers, and then put the crumbs on top. I baked it along with some chicken I was roasting for about 45 minutes. 

The top was browning too fast, so I loosely covered it with foil at the end (not too tight - you don't want to steam the crumbs) until the zucchini was cooked through. It was tasty. 

I didn't use nearly the 1/4 cup olive oil on the veggies and it was fine. You can easily cut back there to make this a fairly healthy recipe.  I used double fiber whole wheat bread. 

So often for dinner I saute veggies and I find that the last minute cooking is a hassle with trying to get the food on the table and timing everything to be done at roughly the same time. 

This can bake along with other foods as you prep salad or set the table and it can sit happily for a few minutes until dinner is served. But it has a fancy name, so I can be snooty as a cover for my general laziness.


Zucchini and Tomato Gratin
(from Essential Pepin)

You can prepare this colorful gratin up to 1 day ahead. Fresh oregano will add the most flavor, but dried can be used if fresh is not available.

Serves 6

4 zucchini, about 6 inches long (1 1/2–1 3/4 pounds)
3 large ripe tomatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut into 12 slices each
1/4 cup olive oil

3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 slice firm whole wheat bread, cubed (1/2 cup)
3 fresh oregano sprigs (about 30 leaves) or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Trim the zucchini and cut it in half crosswise. Cut each half lengthwise into 4 slices.

Arrange alternating slices of the zucchini and tomato in a 12-by-9-by-2-inch gratin dish and pour the olive oil on top. (The gratin can be prepared to this point up to a day ahead, covered, and refrigerated.)

FOR THE TOPPING: Combine the cheese, bread, oregano, salt, and pepper in a mini-chop and process to crumbs. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in the oil. Set aside.

At serving time, sprinkle the gratin with the topping. Bake for 35 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and moist and the top is nicely brown.

Copyright © 2011 by Jacques P├ępin.

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