Summer vegetables from the Farmers Markets made last night's Meatless Monday dish so fresh and flavorful. I wanted to make a dish with ingredients I had on hand, so I leafed through our growing cookbook collection. I decided on the Summer Vegetable Gratin recipe by Thomas Keller in his Ad Hoc at Home cookbook (the one my hubby got signed when he met him in NYC).
It's an easy recipe that just takes a bit of time to prep (slicing and marinating the vegetables) and then bake in the oven. I modified it with what I had available, but I believe you can have fun and use the basic idea/technique with the summer vegetables you have on hand.
After preheating the oven to 350F, I washed and prepped all of my farmer market goods: tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, and large onion (I did not have the plum tomatoes nor Japanese eggplant the recipe had included). I diced the onion and cooked it in a frying pan with canola oil, minced garlic, and French thyme until it was translucent. I sliced the other vegetables and marinated them in extra virgin olive oil and salt (I've been using the lovely garlic salt from my Portugal foodie exchange.)
In my small Le Creuset cast iron baking dish (8x12 inches), I scattered the onions on the bottom. Then I layered the vegetables. On top of the vegetables, I grated Parmesan cheese, sprinkled Panko bread crumbs (Keller's recipe calls for his homemade bread crumbs), and French thyme. I repeated with more vegetables and then Panko/cheese mix. After the last layer of vegetables, I sprinkled more Parmesan cheese on top. I ended up baking my dish for about 45 mins (Keller's recipe calls for a much longer time) which was enough time for the vegetables to soften enough to be cut through.
This bright and colorful gratin works as a tasty side dish. My hubby enjoyed the seasoning and especially the diced onions on the bottom (He was sopping that up with crusty bread). The best part? The dish tastes even better the next day as leftovers!