Sunday, July 10, 2011

Zucchini gratin

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This is the first year in a long time that my garden has actually produced a decent amount of zucchini. I know it grows like a weed for everyone else. But my zucchini (and tomatoes) tend to get mildew or a fungus or some other malady before they produce much. I live less than a mile from the coast in southern California, and there's a lot of damp gray in our summer. Tomatoes and zucchini need more sun than my Santa Monica backyard gets.

This year, though, laziness worked in my favor. I didn't have time to plant anything until mid-May. Which means my zucchini only had to suffer through a few weeks of "June Gloom" (a bona fide season in the Los Angeles area) instead of a few months. And now they're huge and doing what zucchini plants do best: zucchini overload.

I've been making a lot of zucchini muffins, but the other night I threw together a quick gratin, which was just spectacular. If I didn't live with a bunch of zucchini-hating meat-eaters I'd have served this for dinner on its own. As it was, I ate this and they ate steak. We all got what we wanted.

I'm not one for fussing, but it's worth making your own fresh breadcrumbs for this dish. Sacrifice a baguette to your food processor. You won't be sorry.

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Zucchini gratini
Zucchini, cheese, breadcrumbs and heat: the world's simplest summer side dish.
  • 1 pound zucchini
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups fresh breadcrumbs (from 1/2 day-old baguette or other white bread)
  • 2-3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • approximately 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
Spray a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.Trim the ends of the zucchini and then slice them thinly. A mandoline works best for this, but if you're careful you can do it with a sharp knife.Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the breadcrumbs and toast until golden brown, stirring often. Do not let the breadcrumbs burn. Now start layering the gratin: Put a layer of zucchini slices in the bottom of the baking dish. Sprinkle over some mozzarella and a little garlic salt. Add a sprinkling of breadcrumbs. Now go back to the beginning, starting with the zucchini. Keep building layers in this way until you have used up all the ingredients, ending with the breadcrumbs - you should get about four layers. Sprinkle the grated parmesan cheese over the very top. Bake the gratin about 45 minutes, until the zucchini is cooked and starting to brown around the edges of the pan and the cheese is bubbly and browning on top. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 8 servings


Marnely Rodriguez-Murray said...

Oh this looks amazing, cheesy, heavenly! Made me stomach grumble!

kitchenarian said...

I do love zucchini and extra cheesy is one of my favorite ways to eat it. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

daneastside said...

thanks for the recipe, looks amazing. also love the print icon for the recipe make it easy to print.

Jessica said...

I've hardly met a gratin I didn't love. (Which isn't to say they're all created equally, either!) I'll be making your recipe in the coming weeks and experimenting with different types of perhaps stronger cheeses.

Erika Kerekes said...

Marnely - I've been eating it all day - yum yum!

Kitchenarian - I agree, extra cheesy makes zucchini extra delicious.

Dan - I know, isn't that the greatest? I do that whole module at a program created by one of my friends.

Jessica - what kind of cheese are you thinking about?

Kristina Vanni said...

Great way to use the bounty of zucchini during the summer! Plus, everything is better with breadcrumbs and cheese ;)

Sarah said...

Great, simple recipe to use up the never-ending pile of zucchini on my counter. I think I'll try pepper jack cheese for a little more spice.

Erika Kerekes said...

Sarah - pepper jack! Great idea! I'm going to try that next time too. And maybe a little dried oregano....

Anonymous said...

Thanks it was awesome

Erika Kerekes said...

Anon, glad you liked it! What kind of cheese did you use?

Jessica said...

I made a couple modifications: added a layer of caramelized onions and shallot, and used a crazy funky aged hard goat cheese from Soledad, and some Gruyere. Thumbs up! Although you must be super speedy because it took me at least 1/2 hour to get through all the prep!

Erika Kerekes said...

Jessica - that sounds DIVINE. I'm sorry the prep took you longer than I estimated. Which part took up the time? Of course, if you're including caramelizing the onions, that would make sense.

Anonymous said...

This looks wonderful - I don't think I could ever get tired of zucchini and cheese together. Do you use fresh mozz, or the low-moisture/part skim kind ?

~ Christi

Erika Kerekes said...

Christi - I have made it with both. If you use fresh mozzarella, squeeze it a bit between a few layers of paper towels to get some of the excess moisture out. Otherwise, between the water in the cheese and the water in the zucchini, it will be...watery.

Unknown said...

Erika ~ That makes sense- thank you.

So happy I stumbled into your blog !

car accident attorney Denver said...

This looks incredibly delicious! I can't wait to try it!!! Thanks for sharing :D

Anonymous said...

Hi Erika, have you ever used frozen sliced or shredded zucchini for this?

Erika Kerekes said...

I haven't but I'm sure it would work fine. Just defrost the zucchini and squeeze the liquid out before putting it in the pan - frozen zucchini tends to shed a lot of water. Maybe it will even be better!

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