Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Summer Squash Gratin with Green Salsa & Gruyere

Summer Squash Gratin with Green Salsa & Gruyere
Serves: 6
Summer Squash Gratin
This is a great way to use the summer squash that is so abundant this time of the year. I received 2 lbs. recently in my farmer’s market basket, which created a meal featuring a zucchini gratin, and veal chops (see previous blog: Veal Chop with Arugula & Green Salsa)

Traditionally, gratin refers to a dish that is baked with a topping of seasoned breadcrumbs and cheese. The topping should be golden brown, which can be achieved by baking or broiling. This dish is no exception. Gruyere is perhaps the finest cheese for baking, having a distinctive but not overpowering flavor. Its taste varies greatly depending on how long it has been aged. It is often described as creamy and nutty when young, becoming with age more assertive, earthy and complex. 
  • 2 lbs. summer squash, such as zucchini
  • 1 ½ C fresh breadcrumbs
  • 3 Tb unsalted butter
  • ¾ C sliced shallots
  • ½ tsp minced garlic
  • 1 Tb thyme leaves
  • ½ C green salsa – see recipe on blog: Veal Chop with Green Salsa
  • 1 C grated Gruyere Cheese
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 

Preheat the oven to 400-degree F (same temp as used for the veal chops! – see conserving energy!) On the diagonal cut the 2 lbs. of zucchini into ¼-inch-thick slices. Toss them in a large bowl with 1 Tb kosher salt, and let sit 15 minutes.
Salted squash
 Place the breadcrumbs in a bowl. Heat a small sauté pan over medium heat for 1 minute. Swirl in 3 Tb butter and cook a few minutes, until it browns and smells nutty. Pour the brown butter over the breadcrumbs (being sure to scrape all the brown bits into the bowl with a rubber spatula). Wait a minute or so for the butter to cool and then toss well.
Browning the butter
Drain the squash, pat dry with paper towels and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add ¾ C sliced shallots; 1 small minced garlic, thyme, ½ C green salsa and some freshly ground pepper. Toss to combine, and add 1 C grated Gruyere cheese and half the butter-coated breadcrumbs. Toss again, and season to taste.
All mixed together!
 Place the squash in a pretty 9-by-9 inch (or equivalent) gratin dish (a shallow, oven proof dish). Scatter the remaining breadcrumbs over the top and bake 35-40 minutes, until the squash is tender and top is crisp and nicely browned.  Wow! You will love the smell from your oven on this one.

I love serving this with the veal chop; they pair beautifully, and share a green salsa! As the veal would dominate in that case, I would serve with the red wines mentioned on that post.  But, if you were serving this as the entrée – white wines, such as a Riesling, would pair beautifully with the Gruyere.  Other suggestions include a sparkling apple cider or Bock beer, a strong German lager. 



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