Zucchini Gratin

Thursday July 4, 2013


Elemental Custard

When you are away on vacation, you often don't eat normally. There are too many croissants and cheeses to try. The vegetables are swapped for chocolate. For the first few days it's all "Yes Chocolate and Carbs! Life is Amazing!" then it sinks in that you haven't seen something green in days and your body doesn't know what hit it.

I'm definitely happy to be home, not only did my flight get messed up at the beginning of my trip before I even left, I returned home sick with the flu in the form of a killer migraine and aching body.

BUT there was a silver lining. On my return flight I was bumped to first class! When they called me up to the front of the plane my first thought was "S%$#! They are kicking me off the plane! I'm going to be stuck in Amsterdam forever!" I was pleasantly surprised.

The second I got home I made myself a spinach smoothie... and have been stuffing all my meals chock-full with veggies. Voila- here is my most recent dish. Zucchini gratin!

This dish has a subtle flavour from the cheese that makes it extra tasty - because cheese makes everything delicious. It puffs up almost like a souffle - it deflates slightly once out of the oven.

The prep is pretty quick, the only waiting is while it's in the baking so it isn't a labour intensive dish! I paired the gratin with some roasted cauliflower and some baked sweet potato fries for a full dinner.

Elemental Custard

Recipe: Zucchini Gratin

Serves ~6-8

Ingredients:

3/4 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3 large zucchini
4 cups spinach
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup feta cheese crumbled
1/2 - 1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
10 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/3 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped dill

Topping: 1/4 cup panko + 1/4 cup parmesan

Method:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Oil a 9x13 pyrex OR a 9-inch round, 3-inch deep baking dish.

Use either a coarse hand grater or a food processor fitted with the coarse grater attachment to grate the zucchini. Resist the urge to shred the onions- it creates a lot of liquid, whereas if you dice them, it doesn't release as much. Chop the spinach (around the same size as the zucchini).

Drain as much liquid as possible from the zucchini by forming handfuls of the grated zucchini into a ball and squeezing the water out through your fingers. Place this "drier" zucchini in a different bowl. Think of this as de-stressing time! - like squeezing a stress ball! Remember- Drier zucchini leads to better gratin.

Add the chopped spinach, onion, and herbs. Add the cheeses, spices, flour and baking powder to the mixture and mix well. Whisk the eggs in a bowl until combined, then stir into the veggies.

Pour the mixture into the pyrex and scatter the top with the panko and parmesan. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until it is set and the top is golden brown (if you use a deeper dish like I did it will take more like 60-70 minutes). Enjoy!

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