When The Grillmaster first took a bite of this gratin, he didn’t speak. Those who know him realize how unusual this is. He closed his eyes and I could tell he was trying to figure out what ingredients were in the dish. This gratin doesn’t taste the way you’d expect – it’s much more earthy and rich. The one herb he couldn’t quite pinpoint was the mint. He knew there was something besides parsley and thyme, but he had no idea what it was. Surprisingly, the mint and jalapeño both lend their customary flavors without overpowering the squash.
You can use whatever summer squash you happen to have on hand in this dish, just make sure the quantity is the equivalent of about four zucchini. My farmers’ market is a squash bonanza, so I used a combination of pattypan, green zucchini, yellow zucchini and yellow crookneck squash.
The only bad thing about this gratin? It requires the oven to be on for 40 minutes, so it does heat up your kitchen. Once you taste it though, you’ll realize that was a very minor inconvenience. I served this squash dish with some very thinly sliced grilled flank steak, but it would be great on its own too alongside crusty bread.
Adapted from Food Network Magazine
1 medium green zucchini, thinly sliced
1 medium yellow zucchini, thinly sliced
1 medium yellow crookneck squash, thinly sliced
1 medium pattypan squash, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1/4 cup fresh mint
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon thyme leaves (or regular thyme)
1 jalapeño, stemmed and seeded
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
1 cup gruyère cheese
In a large bowl, toss all of the squash with the salt. Let it sit for 20 minutes, then rinse and drain in a colander. Dry the bowl, then layer the squash with paper towels in the bowl to remove as much moisture as possible. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Combine shallots, parsley, mint, oil, thyme, jalapeño and lemon zest in a food processor. Process with about three short bursts until everything is well combined.
Remove the paper towels, leaving the squash in the large bowl. Add the herb mixture and 1/2 cup of the gruyère and toss. Place mixture in an 8-inch square baking dish and top with remaining gruyère.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until cheese is melted and browned.
Makes 6 servings
Per serving: 161 calories, 13g fat (4g sat), 20mg cholesterol, 1229mg sodium, 6g carb, 2g fiber, 3g sugar, 7g protein
Nutritional Analysis: This gratin is a good source of Protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Calcium and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Vitamin C and Vitamin K. It is also high in Saturated Fat and Sodium. (Source: nutritiondata.com) The fat is coming from the gruyère, but in my opinion, the flavor is worth it. Feel free to try a lower fat cheese. The Sodium count is a bit misleading as some of the salt gets rinsed away when you drain the zucchini. You can try reducing the salt or leaving it out and completely skipping the first step, but your gratin will be more watery.