Saturday, August 20, 2011

Summer Squash Gratin

The Witch has some SERIOUS over achievers in her garden right now. Yes folks, its that time of year again, ZUCCHINI and CROOKED NECK SQUASH is here!! Yay says the Witch as she pulls her first veggies out of the garden. Hooray for my beloved green zucchini and tasty yellow crooked necks! My mind swims with ideas on how to prepare these treats from the garden. But after a few weeks the song changes from YAY zucchini! to UGH! more freaking zucchini?? What the hell am I supposed to do with all of these???? After your friends and family have taken on their fair share you're still left with TONS of green and yellow fruits and the usual prep method of planks sauteed in olive oil until golden brown just isn't seeming as delicious as it did 2 weeks ago.

So after some serious squash overload I went to my favorite go to place for recipes, blogs! While browsing I saw that Siri over at Siriously Delicious had posted one for Summer Squash and potato gratin. Gratin you say? Hmmm...I like cheese. Yes, gratin it is! Cheese is a key component to gratin. A quick trip through the fridge shows Emmental Swiss cheese, something the Little Witch picked out (she has great taste! What can I say?), a small chunk of mozzarella and as always Asiago. Those 3 cheeses sound pretty darn good together, the swiss for a robust cheese flavor, the mozz for the melting factor and Asiago has a pungent flavor that's just delicious.

When seasoning the dish I kept it simple, salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder. Powder?? Yes, powder. I used garlic and onion powder fairly often, in specific dishes, mostly because I like the way they perform in some ways. In dips, sauces and dressings the powders are great because you don't get a sharp bite that you can get from fresh garlic and onions. I like it in marinades too, as the garlic powder won't burn like fresh garlic will. The main reason you'll see me use onion powder or dehydrated onions in place of fresh is because my Witchy Sissy has an onion allergy, poor thing, and can't have fresh onions. Powdered or dehydrated is fine, however. So when I know she'll be eating a dish I'll use the powdered stuff. In the case of this gratin I used it for 2 reasons: I wanted a light flavor of onion, this is a squash gratin, not an onion one and I feared a fresh onion would overpower the squashs' delicate flavor. And 2, my Sissy was going to be eating it. 'Nuff said! The simple seasonings really highlighted the flavors of the squash and cheese resulting in a delicious side dish that makes me excited to pull more zucchini and crooked neck squash out of the garden. Thank you, gratin!

Summer Squash Gratin
makes 8 side dish servings or 4 main dish servings
1 zucchini
1 yellow crooked neck squash
3 oz good quality Emmental Swiss cheese
2 oz mozzerella cheese
1 oz Asiago or Parmesean cheese
1 t Kosher salt
1/4 to 1/2 t ground black pepper
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t onion powder
4 sprigs thyme OR 1t dried thyme
about 1/2 c heavy cream (a little less is just fine)
1/2 c fresh bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350F

Slice crooked neck squash in half and remove the seeds if desired. The larger the squash get the more pronounced the seeds are. Its a personal preference, if you dislike the seeds, remove them, if not leave them in.

Using a food processor with a slicing disc OR a mandolin slice the zucchini and yellow squash into thin rounds. Place slices on paper towel to absorb moisture. You will want a single layer of squash on each towel, yes you'll go through quite a bit. Don't skimp on this step or you will have a watery gratin.

Shred cheeses and reserve cheese.

Spray a casserole dish with non stick spray.

Begin assembling the gratin

First layer: yellow squash first. Use about 1/2 of the yellow slices in the first layer. Sprinkle squash with about 1/4 t kosher salt, some black pepper and a light dusting of garlic and onion powder. Next layer 1/4 of the shredded cheeses on top of the seasoned squash slices.

2nd layer: zucchini rounds. Use 1/2. Season as above (salt, pepper, onion & garlic powder) then top with 1/4 of the cheese. Pour 1/2 the cream over the squash on this layer.

3rd layer: Yellow squash, seasoned as above and add the thyme, then cheese.

4th layer: Remaining zucchini slices, seasoned and the remainder of the cheese. Pour remaining cream over top of the cheese. Top the cheese with the bread crumb.

Bake at 350F for 45 minutes or until browned on top and bubbly. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes before serving so the cheese has time to solidify before slicing. Enjoy!

Nutrition Facts provided by SparkPeople recipe calculator
Amount Per Serving
Calories 127.3
Total Fat 9.6 g
Saturated Fat 5.9 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.2 g
Monounsaturated Fat 1.2 g
Cholesterol 30.2 mg
Sodium 372.7 mg
Potassium 169.7 mg
Total Carbohydrate 4.2 g
Dietary Fiber 0.8 g
Sugars 1.3 g
Protein 7.9 g


StephenC said...

I grew zucchini many years ago and said, "never again." They are so cheap to buy .... I do love them (as well the yellow squash). But enough is enough!!! lol

April said...

Yum this sounds good. Pinning this one. :)

anthony stemke said...

Zucchini growth can definately get out of hand.
If you still have plenty left over, I wish you would try my zucchini with lime and coriander, it is really superb.
Regardless, this gratin is very welcome in our kitchen.
Thank You.

Pegasuslegend said...

looks and sounds like the next thing I need to cook awesome job!

Lyndsey said...

This looks the photos. Yes a zucchini plant is something you can't turn your back on! :D I bookmarked this right away, it is right up my ally. I use powdered onion and garlic in many recipes too. I also use fresh garlic and onion in many recipes....sometimes you just need both or the powder is what works best...that is just my opinion! Thanks for letting me get that out!:)

Foodycat said...

In 3 years I have only managed to grow 2 zucchinis, so I am not at your point of frustration yet! This gratin looks good though.

Jenn said...

Now that looks fantastic, Andrea!! I made something sort of like this once..but forgot to add the cream! lol.. oh, it was good...but it lacked that...well creaminess!! :) Love that you used 3 cheeses too!! YUM!

Purabi Naha said...

Andrea, what an amazing gratin you have made!! Loved your version and learnt a lot today!!

Megan Carroll said...

looks lovely Andrea...

Farmer Jo said...

YUM! What could be bad with the cheese and cream. mmmmm

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