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the most delicious vegetable side EVER!

so, i am a tivo fanatic! my favorite thing to do is to sit in bed with my 3 daughters and watch america's test kitchen marathons. well, this morning we were watching and they prepared their "summer vegetable gratin". it is a layering of salted zucchini and yellow squash, salted tomatoes, carmelized onions and a bread crumb topping. but of course they put their spin on it herbing and spicing every layer up. WOW was it ever fantastic! even my girls and my hubby (who HATES squash) loved it. i found him noshing on the leftovers a couple of minutes ago instead of grabbing a bowl of homemade strawberry ice cream and that would certainly have to be the highest accolades.

i doubled the garlic. i also added garlic and the basil to the bread crumb mixture.

Ingredients:

* • 6 tablespoons Olive Oil
* • 3 cups Zucchini Raw
* • 3 cups Yellow Squash (summer)
* • 2 teaspoons salt, table
* • 4 servings Whole Tomato Medium Sized
* • 3 cups Onions, Sliced
* • 3/4 teaspoons Ground Black Pepper
* • 2 servings Garlic Clove
* • 1 tablespoons Thyme, Fresh
* • 1 servings Sandwich Bread
* • 1 cups parmesan cheese, grated
* • 1/4 cups Shallots
* • 1/4 cups Basil Leaves

Instructions:

Serves 4 as a main dish, or 6 - 8 as a side.

1. Trim ends of zucchini and slice in 1/4 inch slices crosswise. Trim ends of summer squash and slice in 1/4 inch slices crosswise. Slice Tomatoes in 1/4 inch slices. Halve onions lengthwise and slice thinly from pole to pole. Mince the thyme. Mince the shallots. Chop the basil.

2. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Brush 13- by 9-inch baking dish with 1 tablespoon oil; set aside.

3. Toss zucchini and summer squash slices with 1 teaspoon salt in large bowl; transfer to colander set over bowl. Let stand until zucchini and squash release at least 3 tablespoons of liquid, about 45 minutes. Arrange slices on triple layer paper towels; cover with another triple layer paper towels. Firmly press each slice to remove as much liquid as possible.

4. Place tomato slices in a single layer on double layer paper towels and sprinkle evenly with 1/2 teaspoon of salt; let stand 30 minutes. Place second double layer paper towels on top of tomatoes and press firmly to dry tomatoes.

5. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add onions, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened and dark golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Set onions aside.

6. Combine garlic, 3 tablespoons oil, remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and thyme in small bowl. In large bowl toss zucchini and summer squash in half of oil mixture, then arrange in oiled baking dish. Arrange caramelized onions in even layer over squash. Slightly overlap tomato slices in single layer on top of onions. Spoon remaining garlic-oil mixture evenly over tomatoes. Bake until vegetable are tender and tomatoes are starting to brown on edges, 40 - 45 minutes.

7. Meanwhile, process bread in food processor until finely ground, about 10 seconds. (You should have about 1 cup crumbs.) Combine bread crumbs, remaining tablespoon oil, Parmesan, and shallots in medium bowl. Remove baking dish from oven and increase heat to 450 degrees. Sprinkle bread-crumb mixture evenly on top of tomatoes. Bake gratin until bubbling and cheese is lightly browned, 5 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle with basil and let sit at room temperature 10 minutes before serving.

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  1. Alice Waters has her own version of this I make all the time in the summer. I agree, it is incredible.

    1. Thanks, ray. Sounds really good. My husband isn't a huge zucchini fan, and this sounds flavorful enough for him to enjoy. As soon as I hit the farmer's market, I'll give it a try.

      1. This sounds really good. I plan to make it as soon as we get zucchini in our local markets--hopefully soon!
        Thanks for posting.

        1. Three of my four favorite summer vegetables (wonder how eggplant would be added in). I've been finding that anything with shallots is a hit with my husband, and I could get him to eat some; although probably not as a snack, unfortunately! However, sounds like a meal to me.

          1 Reply
          1. re: coll

            My SO makes something like this with eggplant and it is a highlight of summer for us. We wait until the local tomatoes are in the farmers market here and the first batch of the summer is a true ritual. It is great.

            We will try this zucchini squash version.

          2. one thing to note is that salting the veggies and letting them sit is to help release some of the liquids so that the gratin isn't too liquidy. so... whatever veggie you use, make sure you salt them. the squash and zucchini was anything but soggy and the tomatoes were perfectly oven roasted!
            that being said, i think eggplant would be fantastic in this casserole. i think that whatever veggie you love and is fresh and local would would work beautifully.
            for us (my hubby is italian and i swear that nothing gets him in the mood quite like the smell of sauteed garlic!) the extra garlic really helped take this dish to the next level.

            5 Replies
            1. re: raygunclan

              I have never salted my squash or tomatoes and the casserole has never been watery or soggy. I know a lot of people do it, but just never figured out why. My casserole is dry, well seasoned, no water, good and baked brown topping, why go to all the work and all that extra salt when it is not needed.

              1. re: kchurchill5

                we don't need no extra salt, fo' sho'!

                1. re: alkapal

                  I'm light on salt if at all possible. Big eggplants, I may salt but then rinse, tomatoes and squash na, too good on their own.

                  1. re: kchurchill5

                    when i salted the squash and zucc, i didn't lay them out to salt. i just put them in a big (really big, so big i have to angle it to get it into the cabinet, but used SO often!) stainless bowl, sprinkled the salt on, and then transferred to the colander. and then instead of smooshing them between paper towels, i just randomly patted them down, in the colander, with paper towels. the tomatoes, however, i did lay out on the paper towels and then pat dry.
                    but on a side not, i salt EVERYTHING simply for flavor. but i might try salting my ankles to see if i can get some of that excess water out that way!!!

                    1. re: raygunclan

                      " i salt EVERYTHING simply for flavor. but i might try salting my ankles to see if i can get some of that excess water out that way!!!"

                      Ha, you're too funny! I am an admitted salt-aholic, myself. My BP is so low I'm damned near dead half the time. FWIW, I didn't miss the salting of the squash (it sounds like such a formal process when phrased that way). ;)

            2. Thank you, rgc, for posting this. I just got on CH to search for a zucchini & yellow squash side dish recipe and voila, I found your post! I bought a bunch of veggies from the farmers market and now I have the perfect recipe. I'm so tired of slimy sauteed zucchini & yellow squash. This is perfect, I can't wait to make it.

              1. Think I'll try this- I have zucchini and some grape tomatoes that I slow roasted but I guess I pulled out too soon because they are still plump and don't have the roasted flavor I wanted.
                :o(
                I don't know what will happen if I use them in this-are we looking for the tomatoes to give the dish liquid? If so, mine won't work. But I'm all about taking chances, so...
                I will report back with my results.

                1. raygunclan, this sounds delightful and thanks for posting the recipe. However, I'm somewhat confused by the measurements listed for some of the ingredients :

                  4 servings Whole Tomato Medium Sized
                  2 servings Garlic Clove
                  1 serving Sandwich Bread

                  How much is a "serving"?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Sam D.

                    i'd say the "serving" must be the default word when "clove' of garlic, or "slice" of bread isn't available?

                    and the tomatoes? well those must just be four medium-sized tomatoes.

                    ~~
                    raygun, question: you doubled the garlic from one to two, or two to four?

                  2. Fine Cooking did something very similar about ten years ago. The only difference is that they laid out each vegetable in distinct rows on top of the onions. It made for a beautiful presentation. The top got parm but no bread crumbs. I spent one hour looking for that recipe in my magazine stash last night - THANK YOU for posting it!

                    16 Replies
                    1. re: cholderby

                      i must say that i double the garlic in EVERYTHING that i make. i used probably 6 cloves of garlic in this recipe total. i pressed some into the carmelized onion toward the very end, i also added to my cuisinart when processing the bread. the other garlic went into the oil mixture, which i must say, after i drizzled it onto the tomatoes (right before putting in the oven) i smoothed it over with my hand to make sure all of my tomatoes got evenly coated.

                      as far as the roasted tomatoes go, i totally think that they would work. the whole purpose of salting all of the veggies is to get out the extra liquid, so pre-roasting them would not deprive the dish of liquid at all.

                      the serving question is one that i can answer only because i saw the episode on america's test kitchen... a slice of bread (i used 2 ends and added extra cheese), a medium tomato, etc.

                      i have to say that i am looking for another excuse to make this recipe. do you think my client would be devastated if i delivered a casserole of squash and zucchini instead of the italian cream cake she ordered? (c:

                      1. re: raygunclan

                        Not sure I've ever had Italian Cream Cake- but I googled it and am in love... My Mom didn't dig coconut so it wouldn't have been something she made.
                        first thing I thought of was Cassatta Cake- in which case I would throw stuff at you if you handed me veggies instead!
                        (jeeze is that sentence even in English?)

                        1. re: raygunclan

                          LOVE Italian cream cake - mmmmmmmm. Hate u for making me crave that now.

                          1. re: lynnlato

                            hey! don't hate me for making you crave. go get yo-sef a recipe and cook away! i'm making 2 more tomorrow!!! (c;

                            1. re: raygunclan

                              Ha! I've got a recipe. But I'm making this gratin and some fresh pasta tomorrow. Who has time to make Italian cream cake too? Why don't you just share? That would be the friendly chowhound thing to do. :P

                              Can't wait to have the gratin. I've been thinking about it for days now.

                              1. re: lynnlato

                                and now, after i've made all of these italian cream cakes, i ask my sweet hubby what he wants for dessert alongside his grilled lobster tail, asparagus, loaded baked potato and caesar salad... italian cream cake. UGH!

                                1. re: raygunclan

                                  LOL! Sounds like a smart man. After all, you have obviously master the fine art of Italian cream cake at this point. :)

                        2. re: cholderby

                          Here is the piece done by Fine Cooking. A very good read, with a link to a list of alternative ingredients. http://www.finecooking.com/articles/h... (including eggplant and potatoes).

                          In the Fine Cooking dish, they did not salt the zucchini, squash & tomatoes to remove the liquid. They said the rendered liquid will bubble in the dish and then slowly reduce to provide an intense flavor. They suggest making the gratin in advance and then reheating b/c it is those remaining juices that make this dish better the 2nd day. I don't know from experience, but that is what the article says. :)

                          1. re: lynnlato

                            Oooh thanky thanky. I always like to see what their finished product looks like.

                            I didn't have time for this, I ended up doing something splendid but I do have 1 more zucchini so this is still on tap...

                            1. re: Boccone Dolce

                              I highly recommend it! It was delicious. We had it for lunch today, in the heat under the fan on the screened in porch. Did I mention fresh baked bread and prosecco too??? YUM!

                              I followed the Fine Cooking method, more so, than the OP's. Only because I was overwhelmed by all the steps listed for OP's. The Fine Cooking did not mention salting the zucchini, squash and tomatoes, but rather wanted to moisture to render in the dish and then reduce to intensify flavors which made more sense to me. I did mine w/ tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, fresh thyme, garlic, carmelized onions. Locatelli Romano, and whole wheat bread crumbs (it's all I had on hand).

                              It was alot of work. But well worth it. Keep it in your reserves BD!!!

                              1. re: lynnlato

                                I was hoping someone would fess up to not salting the layers (I have no luck with that step)- and that it worked out well.
                                Yesterday he gave me MORE zucchini, plus 3 gorgeous yellow ones, and got frowny when I told him I made fritters and a salad with the first few. "Uh- I like fritters too. My wife doesn't make them for me. But I like them." (insert puppy dog eyes here)
                                Ok-ok, I get it!

                                I will attempt this tonight- I'll have the oven on making 'funeral/mourning food' for our dear friends next door. :o( I have to feed all those people-it's the right thing to do.

                                1. re: Boccone Dolce

                                  LOL, BD. It really was not difficult, just took some time. But well worth it.

                                  BTW, ask him for the squash blossoms! Man, I would I wouldn't give for a bunch of those. Stuff them w/ good goat cheese, dip them in tempura batter and fry those babies!

                                  Tell me what you do to make the zucchini fritters - they sound delicious!

                                  1. re: lynnlato

                                    i made a deal with a friend of mine that i would try his squash blossom recipe if he tried this dish. i think i hate to get out my deep fryer as much as he hates zucc. (c:

                                    1. re: raygunclan

                                      I am so with you on the fryer hatred. I hate to fry anything. I think squash blossoms are the one thing I'll make an exception for though.

                                      I'm so grateful for the heads up on this recipe, rgc. It really is amazing, in all its variations. I've spread the word with friends and everyone is a buzz about it. LOL

                                      1. re: lynnlato

                                        lynn- do you ever watch america's test kitchen or read cooks illustrated? they really have the most fantastic recipes or at least some good techniques. another recipe that i can't live without from ci is their spinach lasagna (i found it here: http://savorynotebook.blogspot.com/20... for you). i am not a fan of cooked spinach, but holy moly!!! my 6, 9 and 11 year old daughters have been begging me to make it again. and once again, double or triple the garlic. (c;

                                        1. re: raygunclan

                                          I am off and on with my Cooks Illustrated subscription (currently on). I do enjoy their recipes (I even have a family recipe published in one of their cookbooks).

                                          This lasagna recipe looks outstanding also! I've never been a fan of nutmeg in red sauce, but i can totally see how it would work in this recipe. I'm going to bookmark it and make it. I think my kids would dig it too. Thanks!

                        3. I made this recipe about two weeks ago right after seeing that episode. I am NOT what you'd call a squash lover (I don't even like the word squash-kind of onomatopoeic...). It was super yummo-riffic good (sorry.....). Salting the squashy beasts help to tame the slimy factor. Definitely would make again, and agree that many other veggies would work in this gratin.
                          adam

                          1. This sounds to me like a traditional Provencal dish called a tian, cheffed up a bit. Sounds very good.

                            1. I made this dish over the weekend and really liked it, but it was a lot of trouble. Came on here this morning and see where it can be done without salting & squishing the layers. I had thought about trying it that way and now I'm convinced. Lovely dish!

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: ChrisKC

                                I have used this recipe, that I found in a blog about 5 - 6 months ago and it is almost exactly the same but the vegetables are cooked standing up and it makes for a verry pretty side dish. I made it for a dinner party of 6 and everyone raved about it.......http://fortheloveofcooking-recipes.bl...

                                1. re: RJJR

                                  let me try one more time - it does not seem to be applying the full address -

                                  http://fortheloveofcooking-recipes.bl...

                                  I see the entire address but it does not show when I reopen it can someone please help me with this....

                                  1. re: RJJR

                                    It's just not showing the whole thing, thus the ... means continuing or something like that. The link works!

                                    1. re: ChrisKC

                                      thank you,,,

                              2. I've been making this since I was in my teens. Growing up with a large garden you get very creative with the abundance of squash, onions, tomatoes, peppers, corn etc. I think back then it was dried parsley and white chedder.

                                But in the last 20 years I have been growing my own herbs and buying portabellos fresh along with parm vs cheddar.

                                Mine vary with what veggie I use depending on what the market has fresh which is usually just about anything. Onions, tomatoes, mushrooms and zuchinni and summer squash are usually standards then anything else, sometimes eggplant.

                                I have never gone to the extent of drying the tomatoes or the squash in the collander. I never do that 1 extra step I just don't have time for, but it has always turned out perfect in 30 some odd years.

                                I still have the original cook book where we got the idea from. Their receipt was just squash and onion, but as I mentioned with so many garden veggies we started adding tomatoes, eggplant, anything. 1973, Buelah Michigan, "A Summer Harvest Celebration." From their annual summer festival.

                                We made this every July 4th weekend, not on the forth but always that weekend with our smoked chickens, and usually Moms twice baked potatoes. It just became tradition

                                1. I make a version of this where I layer all the veggies including portabellos but I make a egg mixture and then bake it slow so it always makes a layered quiche, strata with cheese, etc. I'm not sure what to call it but you can let it set and cut in squares almost like lasagna but it is all veggies and some cheese with a light custard. Really good.

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: kchurchill5

                                    k- i would LOVE more details!!!! that sounds fantastic!

                                    1. re: raygunclan

                                      I'll send it to you tonight. On my laptop at work and recipe is at home. I'll get it to you, it is really good.

                                      1. re: raygunclan

                                        Found it. I had it in an email I sent to a friend recently.

                                        Now I use vegetables in season, but I try to use summer squash, zucchini, fennel, portabellos, onions (I prefer red), tomatoes, and many times eggplant. Put I prefer the plums and slightly seeded. You could also use asparagus or any of your favorites.

                                        I slice everything pretty much the same thickness so everything cooks evenly. Use what ever combination you enjoy best. This custard mix will fill a 8x8 pan but I usually double the recipe.

                                        Spray your pan well with pam, then layer the vegetables, usually in order of how long they take to cook. Eggplant, then fennel, then some squash, then portabellos, then onion, then more squash topped off with the tomatoes. Make sure to salt and pepper lightly in between layers.

                                        Custard Mix: 5 large eggs; 1 1/2 cups heavy cream; 3/4 cup Parm; 1 cup extra sharp cheddar; 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley; dash of hot sauce or you can use a little cayenne, depends what you like best; 1/2 teaspoon worcestershire; 1/2 teaspoon dijon (OPTIONAL). Mix the eggs cream and parm, parsley, hot sauce, worcestershire and dijon if you want.

                                        Now top your veggies with the cheddar and then pour the custard mix over the veggies. Cook 45-50 minutes middle shelf at 350. Let set for a good 10 minutes before slicing. It cuts pretty well into squares, although the first piece is always hard to get out. NOTE: I like to make sure that the custard just comes to the top of the vegetables, you don't want to completely cover them. Just to the top.

                                        Enjoy!

                                        1. re: kchurchill5

                                          oh k!!!! i can't wait to try it!!! it truly sounds so incredibly fantastic! i cannot wait to try this one! thanks so much for posting!

                                          1. re: raygunclan

                                            welcome

                                    2. Ok girl, it's in the oven. I re-read your recipe, then scanned the other one that lynn posted plus the other one from RRJJRJRJRJRJRJ <--- that's yer name, yeah? ;o)

                                      I think it will be fantastic- I had just 2 on-the-vine tomatoes left, 2 huge yellow and 1 zuke that wasn't enormous- so I sliced them all and layered green/yellow/red over and over on the bed of carmelized onions (which is actually funny because I only had 3/4 of a red onion left, and a bunch of scallions- in they went!)
                                      It smells incredible.
                                      I sorta didn't see the part about not adding the bread crumbs and parm until the end so it's all in there right now. I also ignored the 'toss veg in oil' because I remembered it after I made all those gorgeous layers- screw starting over!! So I rubbed a bit on each one- hope it's not oily- I tried to hold back!!
                                      If this site will allow me to upload pix again, I'll post once she's done.

                                      XOX
                                      (I'm not a stickler for following instructions- am I?!!)

                                      16 Replies
                                      1. re: Boccone Dolce

                                        I also added the breadcrumbs when I assembled the dish. And drizzled oil over the assembled dish BEFORE the breadcrumbs. But I think either way wouldn't make a huge difference.

                                        I'm so excited for you. Let us know how it is! :)

                                        1. re: lynnlato

                                          Very good. Very, VERY good. I wanted the veggies more cooked, but the breadcrumbs were getting too dark (now I know!) - I shut the oven and just let it hang out in there. Guido and I stood over the dish tasting it- he paused long enough to say 'it's good' and then ate more.
                                          It's a do-again for me. Next time I'll add the breadcrumbs once the veggies cook down. I didn't measure anything, but I'll use more breadcrumbs too because they are kinda the best part!

                                          I ate so much standing over the pan, I was too full to eat anything else!

                                          1. re: Boccone Dolce

                                            next time you HAVE to toss in the garlicky oil! (i am a garlic whore. i admit it!) it really makes such a difference! (garlic whore wasn't offensive was it?)
                                            i'm going to the farmers market in the morning to see what looks good. i'm hoping that there is something that i can try in this dish other than what i have already used. but first things first, i'm going to try kchurchills recipe. THAT strata sounded delish!

                                            1. re: raygunclan

                                              I'm a self-described garlic whore as well. In addition to a bacon whore, peanut butter whore, foie gras whore...

                                              The Fine Cooking recipe gave three variations. (1)like the one u posted, (2) eggplant & tomato w/ mint, feta & Kalamata olives, and (3) red potato & tomato w/ leeks, gruyere and rosemary. See the link above if you're interested.

                                              BD, so glad it went well. I've got the making for another gratin lined up and ready. RGC, thanks again for posting this. You're a rock star (in addition to being a garlic whore). :)

                                              1. re: raygunclan

                                                I just made it again! My 7 yr old son declared it his favorite dish ever. Yea, I think its fair to say we're addicted. I SO enjoyed making it this time too. I didn't scan the recipe, etc., I just did it (4 cloves of garlic too).

                                                Here's a photo of the finished result. My breadcrumbs, too, were a tad darker than I would like, but it didn't stop us from seconds or thirds. :)

                                                 
                                                1. re: lynnlato

                                                  I made it last night for the first time, mainly because some here were saying their husbands actually had seconds, and was happy to have that result too. I have several recipes similar to this, but will discard in favor of this one.

                                                  Didn't salt and it came out perfectly baked. My breadcrumbs were darker than your picture, even though I only put them on for the last 15 minutes, maybe because I used whole wheat bread ends. Anyway I also added eggplant, prepared same as zuccini, and it was great. Also used leeks as the bottom layer (how the heck did I run out of onions?) Glad I got this recipe in the beginning of the summer, and already thinking it might be nice for Thanksgiving.....

                                                  1. re: coll

                                                    Good to know the leeks and eggplant are good also. So, you didn't salt your eggplant either, eh? That's great. I love to simplify.

                                                  2. re: lynnlato

                                                    nice photography! is that natural light? i can NEVER get natural light when photographing my cakes and it is VERY annoying!!!

                                                    don't you totally think that the extra garlic makes it?

                                                    coll... leeks!! what a great idea! i bet that would be fantastic! i'm going to try some artichoke hearts and i think it might be a good combo with the leeks!

                                                    1. re: raygunclan

                                                      Out of onions, but I had leeks and shallots: not too far off, right? I put that on the bottom, then tomatoes, then shingled the rest on top so it looked nice. Not perfect like pictures I saw, but still a good presentation.

                                                      No salting, just tossed the eggplant in the olive oil mix with the other stuff, and it came out perfect. I'm having some for lunch right now!

                                                      1. re: raygunclan

                                                        I almost use leeks and eggplant when I can, but mine is a what was at the market dish. It varies depending on the market. I make this dish almost every other week when possible. It is such a old recipe for me since I was a teen I think I make it in my sleep. It is a great dish, but no salt really unless I use large eggplants, but down here I buy small most of the time.

                                                        It is a wonderful dish

                                                        1. re: raygunclan

                                                          Thanks! Yes, natural light. f2.8. Thanks goodness for my screened in porch!

                                                          Honestly, I didn't even try it w/o the extra garlic. I just got back from the farmers market today and I'm going to try the Fine Cooking tomato & eggplant gratin w/ mint, feta & Kalamata olives next (I may substitute tapenade for the Kalamata olives and toss the eggplant slices in the tapenade). Here's a link: http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/eg...

                                                          1. re: lynnlato

                                                            i was flipping through an old fine cooking today and found these yummy looking spinach, sun-dried tomato and feta purses, only there were no sun-dried tomatoes in the ingredient list. it really was quite strange.

                                                            the best recipe i ever got out of fine cooking was a recipe for fried fish. it takes alot for me to deep fry, but this fish was so incredibly fantastic that not only did my girls lap it up (but they are pretty consistently good eaters), their picky friends also loved them, all forgoing the tartar (which was off of epicurious) for just lemon. their friends' mom was beside herself as her daughters had never had fish before.

                                                            but i do pretty consistently enjoy recipes from fine cooking.

                                                            1. re: raygunclan

                                                              phyllo purses? those sound great. mmmm.

                                                              1. re: foxy fairy

                                                                the recipe looks quite easy if you would like me to post... (c:
                                                                and i think i would add sun-dried tomatoes to them, especially since they are in the title. (c:

                                                                1. re: raygunclan

                                                                  please do post. mmmmm!

                                                                  1. re: foxy fairy

                                                                    here is the recipe, wrongly descriptive title and all:

                                                                    from the best of fine cooking: appetizers holiday 2007

                                                                    spinach, sun-dried tomatoes & feta purses

                                                                    1.25c crumbled feta (about 6 oz)
                                                                    1T chopped fresh oregano
                                                                    1.5t chopped fresh thyme
                                                                    1t finely grated lemon zest
                                                                    .5t freshly ground black pepper
                                                                    .5c unsalted butter
                                                                    1.5c thinly sliced scallions (about 2 bunches)
                                                                    kosher salt
                                                                    .75lb. baby spinach, well washed and dried
                                                                    1 jarred roasted red pepper, drained, patted dry and finely diced
                                                                    24 sheets phyllo, thawed overnight in fridge

                                                                    heat oven to 400. combine feta, oregano, thyme, zest and pepper.

                                                                    in a saute pan, melt 2 T butter over med-high heat. add scallions, .25t salt and cook til soft, about 3 minutes. add spinach and cook, tossing with tongs until just wilted, about 3 minutes. transfer to a colander to drain and let cool for a few minutes before pressing and squeezing out excess liquid. add the spinach and the roasted red pepper to the feta mixture and combine well.

                                                                    in a small saucepan, melt remaining 6T butter. line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment or brush them with a little of the melted butter.

                                                                    unroll the phyllo and stack 24 sheets on your work surface. cover the stack with plastic wrap and a damp dishtowel. take one sheet of phyllo off the stack and lay it on a large cutting board (recover the remaining sheets). quickly brush it all over with some of the melted butter. top with another piece of phyllo and brush that piece all over with butter. repeat with one more piece of phyllo.

                                                                    using a sharp knife, cut the phyllo sheets in half lengthwise, then cut each half into four even pieces so that you have eight pieces about 4.5 x 3.5 inches each.

                                                                    put 1 heaping teaspoon of the feta filling in the center of each phyllo piece. gather the corners of the phyllo together over the filling and pinch together firmly to enclose the filling. transfer the purses to the prepared baking sheet and repeat with the remaining sheets of phyllo and filling to make a total of 48 purses in 5 more batches.

                                                                    bake the purses until the phyllo is crisp and browned all over, 15-20 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through to ensure even browning.

                                              2. For those who love brussels sprouts like me. This is another good veggie dish which I layer.

                                                In a casserole dish, layer diced sweet potatoes, then brussels sprouts cut in quarters and topped with chopped walnuts. Then repeat layers. Salt and pepper in between layers. Mix 1 cup chicken broth, fresh thyme and plenty of roasted garlic. Pour over the casserole. Cover and cook 30 minutes at 350. Remove the foil and continue cooking for 15 to 20 minutes.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: kchurchill5

                                                  brussel sprouts? really? i'm not sure about that one.
                                                  as i'm sure most on this site do, i love to cook. and, truth be told, i'm quite good at following a recipe and maybe even making it a little better (just add garlic. ) but we went through a spell where my daughters were complaining about everything i made. so i threatened them "if you complain one more time about the food that i serve for dinner, i'm going to give you something to complain about." next week, complaints. next night. frozen spinach in the microwave. frozen brussel sprouts in the microwave. frozen limas in the microwave. no salt, no pepper, no butter, not even garlic. the looks on their faces as each one of them took 3 bites (our house rule) truly was priceless. in fact, i am holding back lol-ing right now!!!

                                                  1. re: raygunclan

                                                    You got to be a lover of brussel sprouts and sweet potatoes. I really is good, but you have to love both and have to be a fan, because both have strong flavors. It is a different casserole, but still good. But understand the reluctance

                                                2. I made this a few weeks ago and it was amazing. We could not stop eating it. I just bought their special "Meals for Two" magazine, and it has a two person version. That'll be so nice for my two person household.

                                                  1. Here is a really easy and tasty squash casserole that I found on a favorite recipes thread here on chowhound, summer 2007. This is not my personal recipe, and I don't have the name of the poster who originally shared this recipe.

                                                    "Sure. It's so easy and so good. My girls and I have tried several other squash casserole recipes through the years--twice the ingredients and steps, water chestnuts, white wine, etc.--and keep coming back to this old farm recipe.

                                                    This fills an 8X8" sq. Pyrex baking dish.

                                                    Parboil about 2 lbs. of yellow summer squash (sliced about 1/4" thick) til just tender. Drain & mash.

                                                    Add:
                                                    1/2 stick (1/4 C.) melted butter
                                                    1/4 C. minced onion
                                                    1 beaten egg
                                                    1/2 C. grated sharp cheddar
                                                    1/2 C. sour cream
                                                    S&P to taste (keep in mind the topping is salty)

                                                    Mix and pour into buttered baking dish. Top with crushed buttery cracker crumbs (Ritz, Town House) or potato chips.

                                                    Bake at 350 for 30 minutes."

                                                    1. I thought I posed this, but I make my stuffed zucchinis all the time. Cut lengthwise and then scoop out most pulp. Add your favorite veggies, other squash, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, go wild. Add some bread crumbs to the semi sauteed veggie mix, cheese and stuff and then bake 350-375 for 20-30 minutes or so. They are so good.

                                                      sorry if this a dupe post

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: kchurchill5

                                                        I do this with eggplants! ricotta cheese and sauteed mushroom, onion, some fresh basil and chopped tomato, the ricotta and Parmesan and bake as kchurchill's recipe. Yum. Been making these for years -- and I bring it as a vegetarian entree to dinner parties sometimes -- if I know the number of vegetarian guests ahead of time and the host is stressing about veg options, I offer it.

                                                        1. re: foxy fairy

                                                          first I bake the eggplant, and the scooped out innards are part of the stuffing too, of course.... keep the shells intact, handling with care :)

                                                          1. re: foxy fairy

                                                            I use zuccs mostly but have done eggplant. Isn't that a great dish. With our garden up in MI that I grew up with we had to get creative in using all the veggies. I still make them and love them. I so glad to see other people make them.

                                                            They are so easy and just great. I even make some with sauteed baby shrimp or sausage too. Pretty much any combo works. That is a great thing to offer ff, and I'm sure they love it.

                                                            Eggplant I can see baking a bit, zucchini is more tender so I saute the filling depending on what it is and then just bake, but zucchini does bake quicker. I grill mine often when is great on a upper rack on on a piece of foil. Just yummy no matter what you do.

                                                            whoo hoo to these great stuffed zuccs and plants!!

                                                        2. I'm off track on this, but we are talking about fresh summer vegetables so I think it works.
                                                          I did this a couple of years ago. I stuff the mixture and then just grill. The filling roasted corn, sausage and fresh summer vegetables with a local farmers market cheese which is just really good. It is a great dish that when a bowl of soup or side salad can be a main dish. Now this makes 8 so you can cut back. Last time I made it was for a dinner party so I used the whole recipe.

                                                          I use 1 1/2 lbs spicy pork sausage, use your favorite. Turkey sausage is great too; 1 red pepper chopped; 1 tablespoon garlic minced; 4 ears of corn roasted and then the kernels cut off; 1 medium onion chopped; 3/4 of a small can of creamed corn; 1 cup monterey jack jalapeno (but use whatever you like; s/p to taste; 1 tablespoon fresh parsley and basil chopped; 2 slices of bread soaked in milk and then squeezed. torn apart.

                                                          Just saute the peppers, onion, garlic until done, add the roasted corn and put in a bowl. Add the bread crumbs, the cheese and creamed corn. Put in a corn husk and tie tie together lightly so it can be grilled. I like to grill it on a piece of foil on the grill for the first 15 minute and then move directly to the grill for some grill marks. It is a great side dish or main dish creamy and rich in flavor. Sour cream makes a great topping as does a simple fresh salsa.

                                                          4 Replies
                                                          1. re: kchurchill5

                                                            k- you do SO much with veggies!!! i really need to expand my (as well as my chillun's and hubbin's) horizons!

                                                            1. re: raygunclan

                                                              I guess with FL, our farmers market is every Sat and always fresh and I grew up with a big garden so always been a big fan. I still love red meat but I could eat 2-3 sides of veggies rather than starch. It is hard for the people who don't have access to lots of good fresh veggies.

                                                              My friend just dropped off 15 or so zucchini. I'll roast 1 for dinner, but made zucchini bread last night and probably a zucchini and spinach soup this weekend.

                                                              Kids are hard, I remember mine. Luckily my ex loved veggies.

                                                              1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                kim, speaking of zucchini, i've been craving a good summer squash casserole. you know, the old southern style, made with cracker crumbs, some bacon, cheddar cheese, a little onion.....
                                                                http://southernfood.about.com/od/summ...

                                                                and looky at all the summer squash recipe ideas! http://southernfood.about.com/od/summ...

                                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                                  I could easily eat that. Some of the best casseroles are some of the easiest. I just love squash and I am certainly not picky and just love good comfort food, call it southern style or just good home cookin. I love it. I think I have a few of those green skinny things still around. I am sure I can work that into this weekend. A beer can chicken and zuc casserole and maybe a good baked sweet potato. I'd be happy

                                                          2. Looks excellent. What's the prep time on this? (skipping the salting step)

                                                            1. That DOES sound good. I am so tired of roasting veggies and this sounds like a nice alternative. PLUS I and everyone else is or is about to be loaded down with squash. How timely.

                                                              1. Because it's not in my nature to follow a recipe, I made a sort of amalgamation of the OP's version (extra garlic) and the Fine Cooking version. Today's trip to the farmer's market yielded cousa squash and some japanese eggplant, so those went into the casserole, along with tomatoes, yellow squash, and caramelized red onion.

                                                                I used lots of chopped garlic and fresh thyme (still didn't make a dent in the thyme patch that's eating the backyard) to toss the veg in. I didn't salt the squash, but I did salt the tomatoes and eggplant.

                                                                Instead of fancy pants arranging, I just oiled the dish, threw the squash in, then the eggplant slices, the onion, then the tomato slices sprinkled with percorino romano.

                                                                I baked for 40 min at 450, then removed from the oven, and topped with breadcrumbs mixed with more garlic, thyme, evoo, s&p, and Penzey's Greek Seasoning. I topped the whole thing with a generous sprinkling of romano and more Greek Seasoning, and stuck it back in the oven for another 15 min.

                                                                Verdict: delicious.

                                                                I probably could have cooked it less -- I'll go for 35 min next time, and 10 min with the crumbs -- but it tasted amazing, and the flavors of all the vegetables came through with shining colors.

                                                                For the record, we had this alongside bluefish sandwiches: pan sauteed bluefish fillets topped with a little mustard reduction, on a Portuguese roll with arugula and sliced tomato.

                                                                1. I made this last night and we all thought it was really delicious. The caramelization of the onions really adds to the sweetness, which is balanced nicely by the parmesan in the topping. My husband wasn't sure if it was the most delicious vegetable side dish EVER, since that would require him thinking back on every side dish he ever ate, but it was definitely at or near the top. I followed the recipe as written, with all the salting and drying. I think that really helped concentrate the flavors. Yet it wasn't dry. I'll definitely make this excellent recipe again.

                                                                  1. Bravo! Great recipe. Made it as directed except I used panko for the breadcrumbs. Brought it to a vegetarian pot luck supper last night for my gal pals and it was a HUGE hit. Thanks for posting this recipe.

                                                                    1. I made a version last night that was more like the Fine Cooking version that lynnlato posted (no salting, arranged as per Fine Cooking but with added pre-roasted eggplant) but with the breadcrumbs at the end ala ATC. My friends and I all thought it was fabulous and a great showcase for all the veggies I had bought the day before at my farmers' market. I doubled up on the onions and was glad I did -- in some ways this dish is a vehicle for caramelized onions and cheesy crunchy breadcrumbs!

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: GretchenS

                                                                        LOVE the carmelized onions. You're absolutely right - a vehicle for them. :)

                                                                        I bought more tomatoes and squash yesterday at the farmers market to make this yet again. I think I'm going on my 5th time this summer.

                                                                      2. To turn the leftovers of this dish, or ratatouille, into a more substantial entree, spread in a buttered skillet, and make wells into which you crack eggst. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and optional cheese - cover and cook on low-medium until the eggs are set. Serve with rustic bread, or over rice.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: greygarious

                                                                          Oh yum, thanks for posting this, that is exactly what I'm going to do with the leftovers!!

                                                                        2. I made this last night for a dinner party and it was a big hit! I salted each item, just as the recipe states and really enjoyed it. I will mos def be making this again.

                                                                          1. I will wade into this thread as well....made this last night and it got rave reviews. I did do the salting process - not sure I got a whole lot of moisture from the squash, but it wasn't an onerous step and I'd do it again. I caramelized a red onion and added some balsamic at the end for the bottom of my glass pie plat....then stood the veggies and filled the plate up - drizzled with oil. The breadcrumbs mixed with thyme and basil, parmesan and oil was the icing!! It was VERY good....will be making again for sure!! Thanks