I’ve been searching for this recipe for quite a while now. A gratin. A great dish. A great word. Grataaaaaaaannnn… I could repeat it many, many times without getting bored. Maybe I should get a more interesting life?
But anyways, the point is that gratin should be easy enough. When I imagine it, it’s just like in Ratatouille, where I effortlessly slice some veggies and toss them into a shallow dish with a little cheese and herbs. A quick trip in the oven later and out comes a beautiful summer dinner. Somehow though, mine never go that way. They’re always too “something”: too watery, too heavy, too oily, too bland. I had all but given up on the gratin until I happened upon this recipe. The photo made me so hungry that I actually placed a zucchini gratin on the menu for a class I’m teaching at The Pantry because THEN I would HAVE to recipe-test it to perfection. Oh my friends, summer just got better. For me anyways. What better way to use up the mountain of summer squash growing in your garden than with trays and trays of crispy, cheese-laden, buttery breadcrumbed gratin?
Sure, this wasn’t as easy-peasy as the gratin in my fantasies, but it certainly was as tasty. I started by salting some thinly sliced zucchini until it released all of its water.
Then I got to work on the magic herby sauce that I would eventually toss the zucchini in.
And browned butter, did I mention that there was browned butter involved? It gets tossed into fresh breadcrumbs to make a nutty slice of heaven.
Everything got tossed together with some gruyere.
And baked until it was nicely browned and crispy.
And then yes, me and my good friend Merriss ate it straight out of the pan. There were some burned mouths by the end, but we didn’t really care. We were in a gratin coma.
I made a few changes to the original recipe: more cheese, slightly less oil and shallots, and a lot more lemon juice. I left out the jalapeno, which I know is a bit weird for me, but I really wanted the zucchini to have center stage on this one.
Zucchini Gratin with Salsa Verde
Yield: 4 servings
- 1 teaspoon fresh oregano
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped mint
- 1 cup coarsely chopped parsley
- 1 small clove garlic
- 1 anchovy
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon capers, drained
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 pounds zucchini
- 1 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup sliced shallot
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
- 1 1/2 cups grated Gruyere cheese