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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Summer Tomato & Zucchini Gratin

I love getting mail. Postcard, letter, catalog, magazine, whatever it is, I'll take it (I'm eagerly awaiting a package from amazon, which is really the ultimate delivery!). So much to my delight, not one but TWO issues of Vegetarian Times arrived in the mail a couple days ago! (remember my thoughtful present). Holy double whammy.

I'm about 75% through the second issue (taking my sweet sweet time) and have already dog eared about 20 recipes. This Summer Tomato & Zucchini Gratin was the first hit on my list and it stood up to its first-pick pressure. Now that the summer rains have eased up, the quintessential ruby red (and yellow, orange, purple) August tomatoes are making their way to the markets - we've all been awaiting their arrival so eat up!

Summer Tomato & Zucchini Gratin
from Vegetarian Times, August 2009

3 fresh summer tomatoes, cut into 1/4" rounds
2 zucchini, cut into 1/4" rounds
2 tbls extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olives, chopped (I used kalamata)
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (use good parm, not bad parm or Vegans can use pine nuts)
1/4 cup shredded basil (I had fresh rosemary & thyme on hand so I swapped the herbs)
salt & black pepper

Here's the secret: Place the tomato slices in a colander, each round sprinkled with salt, and let sit in the sink for 30 min. Do the same with the zucchini, sprinkle with salt and let sit on a baking tray. This will pull some of the water out of the veggies so you don't end up with a sad, soggy, gratin. You'll see little sweat beads on the zucchini and juices running from the tomatoes!

This veggie sweat technique is one of my favorite cooking tips, works wonders with baked vegetable dishes. I first discovered it via the eggplant parmesan I cooked up back in March (ps. best eggplant parmesan ever).

Pre-heat oven to 375.
After the veggies have sweat, rinse the zucchini and pat dry with a towel. The tomatoes don't need to be rinsed. Heat 1 tbl of olive oil on med/high and saute the zucchini until soft and slightly brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

In an 9x9 (or close) dish, layer 1/2 the zucchini, top with 1/2 the tomato slices, then 1/2 the garlic, 1/2 the olives, 1/2 the herbs, 1/2 the parm, and crank over some black pepper. Repeat the process using up all the ingredients. Sprinkle the top with olive oil (just a little, less than a tbl).

*before baking
Bake, covered, for 10 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 20 minutes (or until golden around the edges). Let stand for 5 minutes before enjoying! We ate this Summer Tomato & Zucchini Gratin with a simple arugula salad with honey mustard dressing - yeah Summer!


  1. I really enjoy your website and stories very much. I have not made anything yet, but hope to. Any chance you can reproduce the vegan oatmeal-date scones at whole foods??

    Thanks. Jo-Ann

  2. My mother gave me a whole pile of fresh zucchini and tomatoes from her friend's garden last week so this dish was the perfect fit. Thanks for the tip on sweating the veggie, I was surprised to see how much water extracts from them using this technique. My mother's zucchini casserole is always too mushy so I am going to have to clue her in.


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