Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Summer Vegetable Gratin

The idea for me to start a food blog came to me by one of my co-workers. Because she did, I bring her in her own small taste of everything I make. She also forwards recipes that she finds to me that I might be interested in making. Maybe she's interested in eating it? I'm not sure which way that goes, but this is a recipe that she sent to me that just sounded very fitting for this time of year when everyone needs that new recipe for their abundant crop of zucchini and summer squash and their just picked tomatoes.
6T extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1lb zucchini, ends trimmed and sliced crosswise into 1/4" thick slices
1lb yellow summer squash, ends trimmed and sliced crosswise into 1/4" thick slices
2 tsp salt
1-1/2lbs ripe tomatoes (3-4 large), sliced 1/4" thick (see TIP)
2 medium onions, halved lengthwise and sliced thin (about 3 cups)
3/4 tsp black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dry thyme
1C. seasoned bread crumbs or panko
1C grated parmesan cheese
1 large shallot, minced

TIP: I have found that the tomatoes-on-the-vine at the grocery store are usually less expensive than the Roma or Beefsteak tomatoes. I pull them off the vine so I'm not paying for that too!

Adjust oven rack to upper middle position and heat oven to 400°. Brush a 9x13" casserole dish with 1T olive oil
Toss zucchini and summer squash slices with 1 tsp salt in a large bowl.
then transfer to a colander set over a bowl
Let stand until zucchini and squash release about 3T of liquid, about 45 minutes.
Place tomato slices in a single layer on double paper towels
and sprinkle evenly with 1/2 tsp salt. Let stand 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat 1T olive oil in a 12" non-stick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add onions
1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened and dark golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Careful you don't burn them. Turn the heat down if they are cooking too fast. You want then to caramelize and they need the time to do that.

Set them aside.
In a small bowl, combine garlic, 3T olive oil, 1/2 tsp black pepper and the thyme in a small bowl. I crush the thyme between my fingers to try to get them to not be so stick-like in my food. It's more of a powder and I can hide it from my husband, who is not a fan of thyme.
Oops, no pic, sorry!
In a large bowl, toss the zucchini and squash with half of the garlic oil mixture

then arrange in greased baking dish
Arrange caramelized onions in an even layer over the squash.
I found the easiest way to do this was with tongs!
Place a double layer of paper towels over the tomatoes and press firmly to dry the tomatoes, then slightly overlap them on top of the onion layer
spoon remaining garlic oil mixture evenly over the tomatoes.
Bake until vegetables are tender and tomatoes start to brown on the edges, about 40-45 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium-sized bowl, combine the bread crumbs, 1T olive oil, Parmesan cheese and shallots. Set aside until casserole is done.
Remove casserole from oven and increase temperature to 450°. Sprinkle bread crumb mixture evenly over the top of the tomatoes.
Once the temperature has reached 450°, return the casserole to the oven and bake until bubbling and cheese is lightly browned, about 5-10 minutes.
Let stand at room temperature for about 10 minutes before serving.
Enjoy and thanks for reading!

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