The summer's best produce layered, brushed with garlic oil and then baked to perfect tenderness!
The garden is going crazy, and I'm loving checking out the basket of goodies Scott brings in each morning.
We've got cucumbers galore in shades of green and yellow (yes, yellow cucumbers!), slender, aubergine eggplants and an ever evolving supply of green beans and summer squash.
Tomatoes in all sizes and colors as well as sweet and spicy peppers are just beginning to ripen and carrots, fennel and beets won't be far off.
It's the kind of thing that you'd give anything for in the midst of the deep, cold winter and now we're almost over run with this beautiful fresh produce.
I have to laugh when I think about paying a couple dollars for a puny little package of herbs in other seasons and yet now I use them with great abandon and the next day, you'd never know my prolific little plants had been pruned (or as Scott says, "scalped").
A few days ago, after checking the harvest basket, pantry and fridge I decided to make a vegetable gratin. I had shiny purple eggplant, tiny red potatoes, slender green zucchini and small red and gold tomatoes. All I had to do was slice everything thinly, give them a coating of garlic infused olive oil, then have fun layering the veggies concentrically in a tart pan.
I placed the tart pan on a foil-lined sheet pan and covered it snugly with another sheet of foil. Towards the end of baking I removed the top layer of foil and sprinkled the tender veggies with parmesan panko crumbs, then returned the gratin to the oven for just a bit longer to crisp the crumbs.
Allowing the tomatoes to drain for a few minutes on paper towels and baking the gratin in a tart pan with a removable bottom both help keep the finished gratin from being soggy.
Any excess moisture from the vegetables will seep out through the bottom of the pan onto the foil. I love the way it keeps it's shape after removing the outer ring of the tart pan.
If you don't have a garden (this is our first year), no problem. Farmer's markets, roadside stands and supermarkets are bursting with great produce right now. Pick up tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants and zucchini and you'll have fun too making this healthy, delicious gratin. Try to keep the circumference of the veggies around the same size for a pretty presentation.
My mom used to say that once the Fourth of July came, the summer was done. That statement always made me mad because, as a kid, I didn't want the summer to be done. I still don't! But I do have to admit that as I've gotten older, time seem to fly by faster than ever. I'm not done with summer though and hope you aren't either. Let's savor every day that remains and enjoy all the delicious seasonal produce. There are lots more garden-to-table recipes coming, so stay tuned. In the meantime enjoy this healthy, delicious Summer Veggie Gratin!
P.S. Scott and I are headed to Minneapolis tomorrow for a fun blogging adventure and a visit with family. We've rented an Airbnb in the twin cities called "The Mansion". It has lots of great reviews but we'll let you know how it goes!
LOTS OF PEOPLE ASK WHAT KIND OF COOKWARE, SMALL APPLIANCES, CUTLERY, ETC. I USE IN THE KITCHEN. HERE’S WHAT I USED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE.
- For the topping:
- 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup panko
- 1 teaspoon melted butter
- For the Gratin:
- 2 medium cloves garlic finely minced
- 1 tablesspoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 4-6 medium-small red or yellow potatoes sliced thin, about ⅛ inch
- 2 medium zucchini sliced thin, about ⅛ inch
- 1 medium or 2 small Japanese or other thin long eggplants, sliced thin, about ⅛ inch
- 3-4 medium red tomatoes , sliced ⅛ inch thick (I use the Campari size)
- 3-4 medium yellow tomatoes sliced thin, about ⅛ inch (I use the Campari size)
- 1 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line a sheet pan with foil. Spray a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom with cooking spray or grease lightly.
Place sliced tomatoes on several thicknesses of paper toweling and set aside. Allow to drain for 5 minutes.
For the topping, combine melted butter, panko crumbs and parmesan cheese in a small bowl. Set aside.
Heat butter, oil and garlic in a medium size microwave safe bowl till butter is melted and garlic is fragrant, about 30-40 seconds. Remove bowl from microwave.
Add sliced veggies, tomatoes and 1 teaspoon salt to bowl with oil mixture and stir gently to coat. Arrange veggies in a concentric circle around edge of pan then fill in center with remaining veggies. Try to pack the vegetables fairly tightly together. I like to alternate veggies in a repeated pattern but you can arrange them any way you like.
Place tart pan with veggies on the prepared sheet pan and cover with another sheet of foil. Bake until potatoes are tender (the potatoes will take the longest to get tender), about 40 minutes, then uncover and sprinkle with the panko mixture. Bake another 10-15 minutes or until crumb topping is a light golden color.
The design of the tart will be much prettier if you try to get all of the veggies approximately the same size in circumference.