Thursday, August 8, 2013
Authored by Angela Steveson
Happy "National Zucchini Day!"
I got a little ambitious at the farmer's market again recently ... I always buy way more than I truly need for the week. I had several zucchini awaiting use, some yellow squash to use up and a basket of red potatoes that needed a recipe to call home. I had, also, recently purchased a little chunk of Gruyère cheese and knew that I still had a bit of a lovely wedge of Parmesan in the fridge. Hence, this recipe was born.
Yes, it does take a little longer to "hand-fan" the veggies out in rows as compared to just dumping everything into the casserole dish. But, it makes for a beautiful presentation and really allows for each slice of veggie to crisp a little on top. It's actually one of those dishes that looks so incredibly gorgeous and fresh prior to baking that you hesitate to throw it into the oven ... knowing the colors won't be quite as vibrant once baked and knowing that the pan always gets lots of brown splatter around the edges. (Okay. Maybe that's just my OCD talking. I like food to look pretty and stay pretty.)
If you're a zucchini and squash lover, this dish is for you! It would really be lovely at a dinner party or potluck ... you would really wow a crowd with this dish!
NOTE: Although the Gruyère cheese does bring a great flavor to the dish, you could use all Parmesan if you didn't have Gruyère or didn't want to invest in a chunk.
Serves 8 - 10.
Combination of zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes and potatoes (I used 2 medium zucchini, 1 medium yellow squash, 1 large tomato and about 7 medium-size peeled red potatoes), sliced into thin rounds
4 - 5 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/2 cups whole milk
2 - 3 garlic cloves, peeled and slightly smashed
4 - 5 fresh thyme sprigs (or a pinch of dried thyme)
1 - 2 ounces grated Gruyère cheese
1 - 2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Spray a large casserole dish with non-stick spray. Set aside.
Place the sliced potatoes, sliced zucchini and sliced squash into a large bowl. Drizzle on the oil and melted butter. Season well with salt and pepper. Toss slightly, then rub the oil/butter onto the veggies with your fingers to coat well.
Begin lining up the vegetables in the casserole dish - alternating the potatoes, zucchini and squash. It may seem tricky at first and they will slide around a bit, but it isn't difficult. In various places, place slices of tomato. Continue until you've filled your casserole dish. Tuck any smaller pieces that remain in the bowl in between the larger slices. Drizzle any remaining oil/butter over the vegetables.
Roast in oven for 30 - 40 minutes uncovered - or until veggies are tender and just beginning to brown on top. Using a turkey baster, baste the veggies a couple of times with the oil/butter mixture from the bottom of the casserole dish during roasting.
After you've placed the vegetables into the oven, simmer on low in a small saucepan the milk, crushed garlic, thyme, a good pinch of salt and some pepper. Stir occasionally and do not allow to boil. After ten minutes, shut burner off and allow to steep.
After veggies have roasted for 30 - 40 minutes, spoon the steeped milk over the vegetables (be sure not to include any thyme stems or the garlic pieces).
Raise oven temperature to 450 degrees and return dish to oven. Allow to bake for another 30 minutes - or until milk is thick and mostly absorbed into veggies. Remove pan from oven and top with cheese(s). Return to oven to melt cheese(s) and until the top is bubbly. (You can allow it to bake until the veggie reach the desired crispness that you prefer.)
Allow to rest once removed from oven for 10 minutes prior to serving.