summer vegetable gratin

Like I mentioned earlier this week, we’ve just begun to receive summer’s bounty in our CSA. A while back we noticed this recipe for a summer vegetable gratin in Ad Hoc at Home and flagged it for later on. Now that the appropriate veggies are in season, we were able to enjoy it!

Summer Vegetable Gratin, from Ad Hoc at Home
2 medium zucchini, sliced
2 small eggplant, sliced
3 medium tomatoes, sliced
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, grated
1/2 T plus 1/2 t fresh thyme
1/4 cup olive oil
salt, pepper
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup breadcrumbs (I used panko)

Heat an over to 350 degrees. Saute the onion and garlic over medium low heat in some olive oil for about 20 minutes, until translucent. Add the 1/2 T thyme. Slice the other veggies into 1/4 inch thick slices. Toss them with olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour the sautéed onions into a baking dish.

Top with the zucchini, eggplant and tomatoes, overlapping each slice slightly. I kept mine in cute little rows, but you’re welcome to mix them and spread them in an even layer. Mix the cheese, breadcrumbs and remaining 1/2 t thyme together. Sprinkle that mixture on top of the veggies and drizzle with a little more olive oil.

Bake for 35 – 45 minutes, until the veggies are tender and the top is browned.

This gratin is tasty, and blessedly lighter than most other gratins. I really enjoyed the zucchini and tomatoes. Sadly, I am still not a huge eggplant fan, even when it is covered in breadcrumbs and cheese. Jordan was valiant and ate all of my eggplant so I didn’t have to feel guilty about wasting food. Isn’t he a stud!



celeriac and leek gratin

One of my favorite things about this time of year is all the wonderful root vegetables that are available, and I think the best way to utilize them is to make a gratin.  You can make a gratin with just about anything, but today’s awesomely cheesy preparation includes celeriac (a.k.a. celery root), some yukon gold potatoes, leeks, and gruyere.  Assembly is very simple and if you have a nifty Japanese mandolin, the dish practically makes itself.

A note on quantities: I’ve found that one medium celery root, two potatoes, and two leeks filled an eight inch round casserole that was about 4 inches high, but this recipe can easily be adjusted to fit whatever size or shape dish you have.

First, peel the potatoes and celeriac and cut them into very thin slices (imagine a thick potato chip) and cut the leeks into similarly thin rings.  Wash the leeks in a bowl of water to remove the grit.  Then, butter up a casserole or, if you have one, an au gratin dish and begin layering.  Just make a thin layer of each vegetable and sprinkle with salt and pepper; you can put some parmesan if you like, I did … of course.  Then repeat until you’ve used up all your ingredients.  Last, pour about a cup of cream over the top and plenty of grated gruyere.  I had some homemade breadcrumbs lying around, so I through those on too, but that’s optional.  Bake with the lid on at 375 until the vegetables are tender (I stick a fork in and if there’s no resistance, it’s done).  Broil to get the top brown and serve after it’s had a chance to cool for a few minutes.

Conclusions: What’s not to love?  This is a rich, satisfying dish, perfect for these rainy San Francisco days we’ve been having.  Also, the nerd in me loves how evenly the vegetables cook because they’re sliced to the same thickness; the mandolin makes this impressive dish so easy to throw together.  Go get one and make this dish!  You won’t regret it!


P.S.  I haven’t specified what all this mandolin business is about.  I know that there are these products out there that cost $50-150 and look completely impractical, but Japanese mandolins are much simpler and more cost effective.  Specifically, the Benriner brand is great and the best price you can get is from Jon at Japanese Knife Imports. They’re only $20 there (compared to at least $30 from other stores) and he sells the replacement blades.  I take knives and such very seriously and I can tell you, these things are sharp.  Enjoy!