Finally — a way to use all that zucchini! (And, no, we’re not talking about zucchini bread that only takes a squash or two; this will use a whole basket full!)
This recipe is adapted from Richard Olney’s Simple French Food (which, incidentally, has a considerable section devoted to zucchini.) Flip through the “vegetables” chapter and you will come to a delightful revelation: just about anything can be made into a gratin, and furthermore, once gratinéed, it will be absolutely delicious. Case in point: the infamous zucchini, staple of summer gardens, the very definition of overabundance. No matter how many (or few) seeds you plant, there always seems to come a point where the zucchini far outnumber the willing zucchini-eaters … cue the recipes for zucchini bread, zucchini pancakes, zucchini chocolate cake, et cetera…
… or just find a little parsley and garlic, some cheese, a couple of eggs, and a handful of other ingredients and cook up a scrumptious gratin — perfectly simple, perfectly summer!
2 – 1/2 lbs small zucchini, sliced coin-thin (we use a mandoline for this)
4 Tb olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 c bread crumbs
About 1/4 c milk
4 cloves garlic, pressed or finely chopped
One small bunch parsley, chopped
8 ounces cheese — Gruyere, Jack, or a mixture
2 Tb butter
Toss the zucchini with olive oil in a large skillet over high heat — I do this in two batches — until limp and just barely starting to brown, about 7 minutes. (As you heat the zucchini, it will release water; toss gently until most of the liquid is evaporated.) Season with salt and pepper to taste.
While zucchini cooks, mix together bread crumbs, milk, eggs, garlic, and parsley in a large bowl. Add zucchini and cheese; toss to coat evenly. (Add a little extra milk if it looks too dry — the mixture should be moist but not soupy.) If you like, reserve about 1/3 c cheese to sprinkle over the top.
Pour into a buttered gratin dish; top with dots of butter and, if you like, the remaining cheese. Bake at 400° for about 25 minutes, or until browned and bubbly. Serve warm or at room temperature.
We brought this to the marvelous Placer County Slow Food pot luck picnic earlier today — what a fantastic array of homemade foods and local ingredients!