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Jun 17, 2009 08:07 PM

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.


* • 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


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). ;)