Hi everybody, the husband here. Tonight was my pleasure to cook a special meal for my wife since she’s had a busy week and of course, more studying to do. As you’ll note from this morning, we have quite a zucchini to consume, combined with a couple squashes from our garden, and a few more squashes from the CSA. I saw a recipe in Cooks Illustrated for Squash Gratin that served as the inspiration, but I ended up creating my own version.
Summer Squash Gratin
- 2 medium squash
- 2 medium zucchini (or one giant one!)
- 2 medium tomatoes
- 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 2/3C shredded cheese
- 1/4C panko bread crumbs
- basil, salt, pepper, oil
In Cooks Illustrated , the goal was to reduce the moisture in this dish, but they also wanted to keep it a relatively quick dish to prepare. Z&S and tomatoes can be so watery, so their solution was to heavily salt and drain them for at least 45 minutes. I decided to grill the Z&S, mostly for flavor reasons, but I’m so glad I did because I think grilling reduces the moisture even more than a quick salting, and the final product was pretty much at the maximum juiciness I would have wanted to eat.
Begin by slicing the Z&S into 1/4" slices. Wish I had a mandolin! I sprinkled them with salt and a spritz of oil and onto the grill they went. You could certainly sautée them, but broiling would be even better. When they’re done they should be medium-crispy little chips.
While the Z&S cook, slice the tomatoes into 1/4" slices as well. I used the same method as we used with eggplant: a fair amount of salt and a rest above the sink. I’d say they sat there about 25 minutes throughout the prep of the recipe.
Preheat the oven to 350* at this point. Heat a small skillet and sautée the garlic in 1/2t oil until slightly brown. Combine with 1/2C of the shredded cheese and 1/4C chopped fresh basil and mix well.
To assemble, use a 9X9 baking dish. Anything larger and you’ll have to increase the recipe – anything smaller and you’ll just have more layers! Give it a quick spray and begin layering the Z&S. Allow each "chip" to slightly overlap its neighbor. Once you have a complete layer, sprinkle with some of the cheese, garlic, basil mix. Everything should be salted enough, but I recommend a healthy peppering.
Continue layering the Z&S and cheese until you run out – then layer the tomatoes on top. Combine the rest of the cheese with the panko and sprinkle over the entire dish.
Bake for 25 minutes, and then broil for ~5 minutes more (watch it closely!)
Yum! And the whole recipe is just under 500 cals!
WELL DONE, my husband! The gratin turned out wonderful. A bit cheesy, a bit crunchy, and very filling. We’ll definitely be making this again – with all kinds of variations.
In addition to the gratin, he cooked another one of my Bob’s Red Mill new grains: amaranth . Loved it!! It was kind of like grits – small granules with a whole wheat couscous taste. He put in some basil and I drizzled honey and a sprinkle of Parmsean cheese on top. It was the perfect side dish! And there’s more…breakfast!?
When was the last time we sat down to dinner together in the dining room!?! It’s been TOO LONG, chemistry, too long!
In between my workout and dinner, I munched on some trail mix and dried garbanzo beans from OhNuts.com –
And had two sips….er….gulps (!) of the husband’s Manhattan –
I knocked out another big assignment and one small one this evening. Woo hoo!! I’m really making progress. I’ve got one HUGE project to do tomorrow and two smaller ones. Hopefully I’ll be done in time for cocktail hour
For the icing on the cake to his fun dinner, I was delivered a goblet of Neopolitan ice cream