Summer Squash Gratin

I had to make this lovely summer gratin as soon as I saw a photo of it. So pretty and colorful! 🙂 It is a wonderful celebration of the bounty of summer squash.

We ate it as a vegetarian main dish with a crusty sourdough baguette. It would also be a fabulous side dish. This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Laura Rege. I used sweet cipollini onions from my CSA box in addition to the leeks.

After adding an additional sautéed CSA cipollini onion, I also made a mini-gratin with my leftover filling. 🙂 Great.

Yield: Serves 4 to 6 as a main dish (plus an additional mini-gratin, above, optional)
  • 5 T extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 small leeks, white and tender green parts thinly sliced into rounds
  • 2 cipollini onions, halved and cut into slices (plus 1 additional onion if making a mini-gratin)
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine (plus 1 additional T if making a mini-gratin)
  • 3 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick slices, preferably 
on a mandoline
  • 3 medium yellow summer squash, cut lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick slices, preferably on a mandoline
  • coarse salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup finely shredded Gruyère (about 2 ounces)
  • 1 plum tomato, very thinly sliced crosswise
  • flaky sea salt, for finishing
  • crusty bread such as a sourdough baguette, for serving

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°, preferably on convection.
  2. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over moderately high heat. Add the leeks, and onions, if using, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the wine and cook until evaporated, about 2 minutes.
  4. Spread in a 9-inch round baking dish.
  5. Using a mandolin, slice the squash lengthwise into 1/8-inch slices.
  6. Meanwhile, on 4 large baking sheets, spread the zucchini 
and yellow squash and brush with the remaining 4 tablespoons of oil; season with salt and pepper.
  7. Sprinkle with the cheese and let sit until slightly softened, about 5 minutes or up to 1 hour.
  8. Tightly roll 1 piece of zucchini and set it on the leeks in the center of the dish.
  9. Working 
outward from that center slice, continue rolling and coiling additional pieces of zucchini and yellow squash until you reach the edge of the baking dish.
  10. Season the tomato slices with salt and pepper, then tuck in intervals between the zucchini and squash.
  11. Scrape any cheese off of the baking sheets and sprinkle on top.
  12. Place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, 
until the zucchini and squash are tender and browned 
in spots. (I cooked mine for 33 minutes, and 27 minutes for the mini)
  13. Remove from oven. While hot, sprinkle with sea salt.
  14. Let cool slightly, then 
serve with crusty bread.

I’m sharing my summer gratin at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #180, co-hosted by Tracey @My Baja Kitchen and Jhuls @The Not So Creative Cook. Enjoy!

Note: If making the additional mini-gratin, saute the additional onion, adding 1 T wine cooking as directed above. Place in the bottom of a mini-pie dish and layer remaining squash and cheese. Cook as directed.

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Cauliflower Gratin

My husband refused to let me simply roast the special heads of cauliflower we received in our CSA share. When he agreed to eat this indulgent cheesy cauliflower celebration as a main dish, we struck a deal. I added a little bit of pasta to make it more substantial.

We enjoyed this dish with roasted potatoes, roasted carrots, as well as Toscano kale and watermelon radish greens sautéed with garlic, onions and leeks on the side. It truly was a CSA box feast. 🙂

This recipe was adapted from Barefoot in Paris: Easy French Food You Can Make at Home by Ina Garten. I used one and a half heads of my small CSA cauliflower, about two pounds total. The original recipe called for three pounds, so I added pasta to the gratin. I also drizzled olive oil over the top of the dish instead of butter.

Cheesy deliciousness. 🙂

  • 1 (3-pound) head cauliflower, cut into large florets (I used 2 pounds of cauliflower supplemented with 1 cup orecchiette pasta)
  • coarse salt
  • 2 T unsalted butter
  • 3 T all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups hot milk (I used whole milk)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Gruyère, divided
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan (I used Parmigiano Reggiano)
  • 1/4 cup panko or fresh bread crumbs
  • 1 to 2 T extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F, preferably on convection.
  2. Cook the cauliflower florets in a large pot of boiling salted water for 5 to 6 minutes, until tender but still firm. Drain.
  3. Cook the pasta, if using, about 2 minutes less than the package directions for al dente.
  4. Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add the flour, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes.
  5. Pour the hot milk into the butter-flour mixture and stir until it comes to a boil. Boil, whisking constantly, for 1 minute, or until thickened.
  6. Off the heat, add 1 teaspoon of salt, the pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup of the Gruyère, and the Parmesan.
  7. Pour 1/3 of the sauce on the bottom of an 8 by 11 by 2-inch baking dish or another equivalently sized baking dish.
  8. Place the drained cauliflower on top (and the pasta, if using) and then spread the rest of the sauce evenly on top.
  9. Combine the bread crumbs with the remaining 1/4 cup of Gruyère and sprinkle on top.
  10. Drizzle 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil over the gratin.
  11. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top is browned. Serve hot or at room temperature.

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Summer Vegetable Gratin

This colorful dish used my entire CSA box in one meal! My husband accepted it as a vegetarian main because of the flavorful baguette-cheese topping (yay!), but it would also work well as a hearty side dish. We even had a green salad on the side. 🙂

This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Julia Moskin. Moskin recommended using a fresh baguette in the topping for the best crust. Great!

Yield: Serves 6 to 8 as a main dish or up to 12 as a side dish

Time: 1 1/2 hours

For the Base Layer:

  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced, or 2 additional onions
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 8 cloves garlic, smashed

For the Tomato-Bread Crumb Topping:

  • 1 ½ pounds plum or other ripe tomatoes
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 baguette
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan or Gruyère cheese

For the Gratin:

  • ¼ cup olive oil, more for baking
  • 1 ½ pounds zucchini, sliced 1/4-inch thick (I used 2 pieces)
  • 1 ½ pounds yellow squash, sliced 1/4-inch thick (I used 2 pieces)
  • ¼ cup freshly chopped basil or parsley, more for garnish
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Make the base layer: In a large, heavy ovenproof skillet or enameled cast-iron pan (10 to 12 inches across), combine onions and olive oil and heat to a sizzle, stirring to separate.
  2. Add bell peppers, red pepper flakes and garlic. Cook, stirring, over low heat until peppers are very soft and onions are browned, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and leave mixture in the pan. (The garlic can be removed at this time, if desired.)
  3. Meanwhile, make the topping: Core tomatoes and slice them 1/4 inch thick. Lay on paper towels to drain for 10+ minutes.
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over low heat. Add tomatoes and cook very slowly, turning once or twice, until liquid has bubbled away and flesh is cooked through, about 8 minutes. (Do not overcook, or tomatoes will fall apart.) Turn off heat and let slices cool in skillet; they will continue to dry out.
  5. Tear baguette into pieces and pulse in a food processor to make coarse, fluffy, pea-size crumbs. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil and the cheese and pulse to combine.
  6. Assemble the gratin: Heat oven to 425 degrees. (If your oven has a convection feature, use it, reducing baking temperature to 400 degrees.)
  7. In a large bowl, combine oil, zucchini and squash, and toss well until lightly and evenly coated. Add basil, sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, and toss again.
  8. On top of the base layer in pan, arrange squash and zucchini slices around the inner rim of the pan, standing on their edges in roughly alternating colors. Pat down into the pan so slices overlap and lie down, like shingles or fallen dominoes. Repeat to make another circle inside the first, and again if necessary, until pan is filled. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. 
  9. Brush oil over the top of the gratin and transfer to oven. Bake 30 minutes. Raise oven temperature to 450 degrees (425 degrees for convection), or heat the broiler.
  10. Add the topping: Arrange tomato slices in one layer on top of the par-baked gratin. Spread bread-cheese mixture over tomatoes and press down gently.
  11. Bake or broil until vegetables are browned around the edges or crust is crisp and golden. 
  12. Let cool slightly and serve hot or at warm room temperature. Garnish each serving with herbs, if desired.

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Chicken & Wild Rice Casserole

Woo hoo! I’m excited to share that I am co-hosting Angie’s Fiesta Friday #109 this week with lovely Lily of Little Sweet Baker. Fiesta Friday is my absolute favorite online party. I get so many fabulous recipe ideas every week! It’s also a great place to meet other bloggers.

I’m bringing this gigantic potluck casserole to share with everyone. This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by chef Gavin Kayser of Spoon and Stable in Minneapolis.

This dish has it all. It has layers of tender wild rice, loads of Swiss chard sautéed with shallots and garlic, creamy mushroom-herb sauce, and chicken tenderloins. Because it can be baked a day ahead, it would be perfect to bring to a potluck dinner. It might be the most elegant casserole I’ve ever made!

Yield: Serves 8 to 10

Time: about 2 1/2 hours

For the Wild Rice:

  • 1/2 pound wild rice (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion or 1/2 of a large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 celery rib, finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 thyme sprig
  • coarse salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

For the Swiss Chard:

  • 3 tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 pounds Swiss chard, stems discarded and leaves coarsely chopped (I used 2 bunches of green chard and 1 bunch of rainbow chard.)

For the Mushroom Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup grapeseed or canola oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small celery rib, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced rosemary
  • coarse salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

To Finish the Dish:

  • 2 pounds thinly sliced chicken, pounded 1/4 inch thick (I used 14 chicken tenderloins)
  • 1 1/2 cups panko
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • chopped parsley, for serving

Make the Wild Rice:

  1.  In a large saucepan, combine all of the ingredients with a generous pinch each of salt and pepper.
  2. Cover with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Simmer over moderate heat until the rice is tender, about 1 hour. Drain well.

Cook the Swiss Chard:

  1. Set a rack over a large rimmed baking sheet.
  2. In a pot, heat the oil. ( I used a Dutch oven.)
  3. Add the shallot and garlic and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until softened, 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Add the Swiss chard in large handfuls, letting each batch wilt slightly before adding more. Cook, stirring occasionally, until all of the chard is wilted, 8 to 10 minutes.
  5. Spread the chard out on the rack to drain and let cool completely. Squeeze out any excess water.

Make the Mushroom Sauce:

  1. In a large, deep skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil until shimmering.
  2. Add half of the mushrooms and cook over moderately high heat, undisturbed, until browned on the bottom, 5 minutes. Cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are tender and browned all over, 5 minutes longer; transfer to a plate.
  3. Repeat with the remaining oil and mushrooms.
  4. Wipe out the skillet and melt the 2 tablespoons of butter in it.
  5. Add the onion, celery, garlic, thyme, rosemary and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are just starting to brown, about 8 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms.
  6. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and cook, stirring, until incorporated, about 2 minutes.
  7. Gradually whisk in the stock and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat to moderate and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened and no floury taste remains, about 7 minutes.
  8. Stir in the cream and season the sauce with salt and pepper.

Finish the Dish:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°. Lightly coat the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch or 4-quart baking dish that’s at least 2 inches deep with cooking oil spray.
  2. Arrange half of the chicken in the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
  3. Scatter half of the Swiss chard over the chicken, followed by half of the wild rice and half of the mushroom cream sauce.
  4. Repeat the layering once more with the remaining chicken, greens, rice and sauce.
  5. In a medium bowl, toss the panko with the 3 tablespoons of melted butter and sprinkle evenly over the casserole.
  6. Cover with foil and bake for about 35 minutes, until bubbling.
  7. Uncover the casserole and turn on the broiler. Broil 6 inches from the heat until the panko is lightly browned, about 3 minutes.
  8. Let stand for 10 minutes. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve.

Note: The baked casserole can be cooled down and refrigerated overnight. Reheat gently and crisp the panko under the broiler before serving.

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Classic Potato Gratin

I think that this is all my son ate during our Thanksgiving Feast! (BOTH days…) I loved that the russet potatoes were left unpeeled. 🙂 Not only did it make the dish easier to prepare, the presentation was prettier and it was more healthy too! Well, at least it had more vitamins….

This recipe is from Bon Appetit, contributed by Claire Saffitz. I set the mandolin to 1/8″ to slice the potatoes. Starchy side dish perfection. 🙂

Yield: Serves 12

  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and divided
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 medium shallots, peeled and quartered through root ends
  • 2½ cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon thyme leaves, plus more
  • 4 pounds russet potatoes, scrubbed, very thinly sliced on a mandolin
  • 3 ounces Gruyère, finely grated
  • 1 ounce Parmesan, finely grated
  1. Preheat oven to 325°.
  2. Cut 1 garlic clove in half and rub the inside of a 3-qt. shallow baking dish with cut sides. Smear butter all over inside of dish.
  3. Bring shallots, cream, salt, pepper, 1 Tbsp. thyme, and remaining 4 garlic cloves to a simmer in a small saucepan over low heat; cook until shallots and garlic are very soft, 15–20 minutes. Let cool slightly. Transfer to a blender; blend until smooth. (I used a Vitamix.)
  4. Arrange potato slices in prepared dish, fanning out a handful at a time and placing in dish at an angle (this ensures every scoop will have tender potatoes from the bottom and crisp edges from the top). Shingle as you work until bottom of dish is covered. Tuck smaller slices into any gaps to fill.
  5. Pour cream mixture over potatoes and cover dish tightly with foil. Bake potatoes until tender and creamy, 60–75 minutes. Let cool.
  6. Place rack in highest position; heat broiler. Remove foil and top potatoes with Gruyère and Parmesan. Broil until cheese is bubbling and top of gratin is golden brown, 5–10 minutes. Serve topped with more thyme leaves, if desired.

Note: Gratin can be baked 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before broiling.

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  • Mashed Golden Earthworm Organic Farm Potatoes

Spinach, Swiss Chard, & Sweet Potato Gratin

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My husband’s side of the family does not support a sweet potato side dish on the Thanksgiving table, but who can resist sweet potatoes covered in cheese and greens? It was pretty too. In my opinion, gratins have it all. 🙂 This one had a nice balance between the indulgence (béchamel sauce and cheese), sweetness (sweet potatoes), and healthiness (greens). The sweet potatoes were thinly sliced, so they cooked relatively quickly as well. Nice. This recipe was adapted from Smitten Kitchen.

Yield: Serves 12

  • 1 cup (about 5 ounces) coarsely grated Gruyére cheese
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • coarse salt
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons minced fresh Italian parsley
  • 2 pounds medium red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams), peeled and cut into 1/8-inch thick rounds (I used a mandolin)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 pounds spinach (I used pre-washed small leaf but not baby spinach)
  • 1 large bunch Swiss chard, about 1 pound, leaves and stems separated, stems reserved for another use and leaves cut into 1-inch slices
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick or 2 ounces) butter
  1. Prep greens: Cook onion in 2 tablespoons butter in a wide 8-quart heavy pot over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened. Increase heat to moderately high and add nutmeg followed by large handfuls of greens, stirring, until all are wilted. Season with salt and pepper then transfer greens to a large colander (over a large bowl) to drain well and press out liquid with back of a large spoon.
  2. Make sauce: Combine cream, milk, and garlic in small saucepan; bring to simmer; keep warm. Melt two tablespoons butter in a medium heavy saucepan over moderate heat and stir in flour. Whisking constantly, bring to a boil and continue to cook roux, whisking, one minute. Then, slowly whisk in warm cream/milk and boil, whisking, for one additional minute. Season sauce with salt and pepper.
  3. Assemble gratin:Preheat oven to 400°F (on convection). Butter deep 9×13 baking dish (or spray with cooking spray).
    • Spread half of sweet potatoes in the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, a quarter of the herbs and a 1/4 cup of the cheese.
    • Distribute half of the greens mixture over the cheese, then sprinkle salt, pepper, a quarter of the herbs and 1/4 cup of the cheese over it.
    • Pour half of bechamel sauce over the first two layers then continue with the remaining sweet potatoes, more salt, pepper, herbs, and another 1/4 cup of cheese.
    • Top with the remaining greens, salt, pepper and herbs.
    • Pour the remaining béchamel sauce over the top of the gratin, pressing the vegetables slightly to ensure that they are as submerged as possible. Sprinkle with the last 1/4 cup of cheese.
  4. Bake gratin for about 35 minutes, until golden and bubbly, and most of the liquid is absorbed. Cover with foil and bake an additional 10 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Do ahead: You can make the entire gratin but not bake it up to a day in advance and keep it in the fridge. You can also make and bake the gratin and reheat it. Gratins reheat well, but they take almost as much time to gently heat through as they do to bake in the first place, especially deep ones like this.

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