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!
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.