Inspiration: What’s your favorite vegetable? I don’t know why, but for some reason, it gives me satisfaction in my head to think of my favorite things. My favorite book is Wuthering Heights. My favorite wines are Cabernet Franc (for red) and chardonnay (for white). My favorite band is Dave Matthews Band. Even though these things may change tomorrow – for right now, at this minute – they make me me. So my favorite vegetable? Today, it’s zucchini. It’s so wonderful when it’s cooked very simply – just sauteed up with some butter and Kosher salt until nice and browned – but it also lends itself well to much more complex dishes. At our place, zucchini is usually on the plate several times a week in one form or another.
What we Loved: I’m always up for a good gratin (who isn’t?), and this gratin doesn’t disappoint. It combines the light and fresh vegetable flavor of zucchini with some lovely ingredients with much stronger flavors – namely, rich sauteed onions and nutty gruyere cheese. How can you go wrong with that combination? What I love about this dish is that it’s a nice and cheesy gratin, yet the cheese and cream in the dish aren’t so extravagant and overpowering that you can’t taste the zucchini. That vegetable flavor that I love is still prominent alongside the other stronger flavors. I served this up alongside our favorite roasted chicken with some sauvignon blanc for a perfect, comforting meal.
Tips: I’m thinking that a pinch of nutmeg would go well in this dish. I always think that nutmeg works really well in gratins, and I think that it just might add that nice little extra something here, too.
Source: Adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Jamie Samford
2 lbs small zucchini, shredded on the large holes of a box grater
Kosher salt and black pepper
1/2 small onion, finely diced
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
1. Put the shredded zucchini in a colander, and toss with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Let stand for at least 5 minutes, then squeeze as much of the liquid out of the zucchini as possible using your hands.
2. Melt the butter in a saute pan. Add the onions, and cook until softened. Add the zucchini, stir, and cook for a few more minutes until the zucchini is just softened. Add the cream, and simmer until thickened.
3. Remove the mixture from the heat, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer the mixture to a baking dish, and top with the shredded Gruyere.
4. Bake in a 350 degree oven until the cheese is melted and the everything is heated through.