Susan Hart: Load up on great veggies — and skip the gluten
It’s summer, and the farmers markets are bursting with an array of vegetables. So good, and so good for you. I’ve been inspired recently by a trip to the French countryside, and by the bounty of my CSA box’s offerings, to prepare vegetables “gratin.”
This appears to mean oven-roasting them with a topping of cream, cheese and seasoned bread crumbs, or without any topping if you prefer. There is a special gratin pan for the baking process, but I just use a shallow baking dish.
Every vegetable I have encountered benefits from this preparation, and I am sharing a recipe today that will help you to use zucchini when it comes in (and comes in, and comes in).
This recipe is an adaptation of one found in the Chez Panisse Vegetables cookbook.
Zucchini and Tomato Gratin
3 large leeks
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
Salt and pepper
Leaves from 1 small branch of thyme
1 bunch fresh basil leaves or leaves from 4 stalks fresh oregano
6 to 8 medium slicing tomatoes
10 small green or yellow zucchini
1/4 cup cream
1/3 cup gluten-free bread crumbs
1/3 cup grated pecorino Romano cheese
1 tablespoon paprika
Pinch of dried thyme
Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Chop the white part of the leeks and sauté in the butter or olive oil until soft and translucent. Season with salt and pepper; add the leaves of the thyme and basil. Place in a 9-by-13-inch baking pan about 2 1/2 inches deep. Cut out the stem-ends of the tomatoes and slice them into quarter-inch-thick slices. Place a layer of the tomatoes on the leek and herb mixture. Slice the zucchini into quarter-inch-thick slices on the diagonal and place a layer of the slices on top of the tomatoes. Repeat the tomato and zucchini layers.
Press the vegetables down lightly. Pour the cream over the vegetables. Toss the bread crumbs, Romano, paprika and thyme and cover the top of the vegetables with the mixture.
Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until vegetables are tender to the fork. Serves six.
This dish is rich enough in flavor to serve as an entree. Add some baguette slices (I’ve been liking Against the Grain gluten-free baguettes from Whole Foods’ freezer) and some chilled watermelon, and you’ve got a great summer supper.
Carson City’s gluten-free discussion group meets quarterly. The next meeting will be Monday, July 8. Please email Susan for details.
Susan Hart has been cooking gluten-free for 17 years. She can be reached at email@example.com.