Summer is here and this week is going to be a hot one. On Saturday I went to the local farmers market (two blocks away!) to see what I could pick up to compliment my trip to the Harris Teeter. I walked away with peaches, blueberries, sour cherries (which I made into a DELICIOUS cherry crumble), beautiful tomatoes, squash, zucchini and a gorgeous bouquet of wild flowers. Everything smelled so delicious as I unpacked it all. You just can’t beat that farm freshness.

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I decided as chicken as a main, but wanted a light and, at the same time, rich side dish that would satisfy my need for a creamy flavor profile. I decided on a gratin. The last time I made one a few weeks ago, I did not add any liquid to it. I simply sliced the veggies, roasted with salt/pepper, olive oil, butter, herbs and a crispy panko crust which was delicious but I wanted something a bit more decadent. This recipe incorporates both whipping cream and cheese so you know it’s bound to be good while still tasting light as it’s mostly just veggies.

I had leftovers last night which I heated up with some of my Butter Roasted Tomato Sauce and that was a match made in heaven as well. This recipe is the perfect way to use up all those zucchini and squash from the summer’s bounty. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • One medium yellow onion, sliced thin
  • 5 cloves of garlic, sliced thin
  • 2 cups sliced zucchini
  • 2 cups sliced squash
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes or very small plum tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheese of your choice
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan
  • 3 tablespoons chopped herbs (I used combo of basil, oregano and parsley)
  • 1 clove garlic, grated (reserve for the cream sauce)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • olive oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 9″ x 9″ pan or equivalent size. I used a oval baking dish I have that worked just fine.

In a cast iron skillet, sautรฉ onion and sliced garlic in a mixture of 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter until light golden brown. Turn off the heat and let the mixture sit while you prepare the rest of the gratin.

Starting from the bottom, layer 1/3 of the squash/zucchini mix, followed by 1/3 of the onion/garlic mixture, 1/3 of the herb mixture, 1/3 of the mozzarella and cheese of your choice, salt and pepper. Repeat two more times until you’ve used up all your veggies and sautรฉed onion/garlic.

Lastly, evenly add your sliced tomatoes (seed side up) on top.ย Reserve last 1/3 of herbs to top the tomato later.

In a small sauce pan, heat up the whipping cream, butter and grated garlic clove. Once the butter has melted, remove from heat and pour the mixture over all the veggies.

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Top with panko bread crumbs and parmesan cheese and place in the oven.

Bake for about 45 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and bubbly. Allow to sit for a little bit for everything to come together and serve warm.

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I really loved this recipe. First, as a way to use up all those summer squash and zucchini, and second – it’s very versatile and could work as a side to pasta, meat, fish or even other veggies when craving a vegetarian meal. The flavor profile from the herbs and garlic is super tasty and the cream and cheese give it that decadent feel. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

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