8.6.13 Summer Squash and Tomato Gratin
It’s happened again. In early spring as you were planting your garden, you probably thought to yourself, ‘Oh, a zucchini plant! That would be nice!’. In the months that passed since last summer, you had forgotten about what happens when you grow zucchini. And before you know it, it’s August again, and your cute little zucchini plant is producing zucchinis like nobody’s business. You’re inundated with the stuff. Now what?
Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Zucchini is extremely prolific - plant it and you’re bound to encounter a squash surplus. Random fact: because of this very phenomena, August 8 (yes, that’s THIS THURSDAY) is also known as National Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day (apparently this is a real thing?).
Okay, so maybe you don’t want to go as far as to sneak around your neighborhood, leaving a suspicious summer squash or two on your neighbors’ doorsteps. But if you’re like me and have been spending the last few weeks making WAY too much zucchini bread, you know something must be done.
I have a couple of ideas for you. Number one is getting your zucchini crop under control. Zucchini is a fruit that grows once the blossom of the zucchini plant is pollinated. Ergo, if you pick your zucchini blossoms before they can be pollinated and produce zucchini, you can limit the number of zucchinis that grow on the plant. BONUS - you can make the zucchini blossoms into tasty snacks, such as these.
Now, that you have a more manageable amount of zucchinis, you can use the remaining ones to cook up some tasty dishes, like this Tomato and Summer Squash Gratin.
Not only will this dish help to put a dent in your surplus zucchini supply, but it also makes use of the delicious tomatoes that are coming into season. Sauteed onions and garlic, goat cheese, fresh basil, tomatoes, and of course summer squash all combine to make a wonderful summery side. What I love about this dish is that the liquid from the tomatoes mixes with the goat cheese during baking and produces a tangy sauce that cooks the squash to perfection. Make sure to serve this with some crusty bread to sop up any extra sauce left on your plate!
Tomato and Summer Squash Gratin
Serves 6 as a side
- 1 medium onion thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- Olive oil
- 2 oz chevre, crumbled
- 1 lb tomatoes sliced
- 1 lb summer squash (green, yellow, or a mix) sliced
- 2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
- ½ c panko breadcrumbs
- ½ c finely grated parmesan
- Salt and pepper
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a 9 inch cast iron skillet (or other ovenproof pan) over medium heat, saute the onion and garlic in about 1 Tbsp olive oil until soft and fragrant, about 5-6 minutes. Season to taste ¼ tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper. Remove from heat and cool slightly
3. Sprinkle the onion mixture in the skillet with the crumbled chevre. Layer the slices of summer squash and tomato over top of the onions and chevre. Continue layering and overlapping slices until all of the squash and tomatoes are used up.
4. Sprinkle with chopped basil, drizzle with 1 Tbsp olive oil, and season with salt and pepper (about another ¼ tsp of each).
5. Combine the panko breadcrumbs, parmesan, and 1 tsp olive oil in a small bowl. Sprinkle evenly over top of the gratin.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until squash is tender and breadcrumb topping is golden brown.