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Joyeux Quatorze Juillet! A Zucchini Gratin For Bastille Day

July 14, 2012

We are fans of Bastille day in our house, we like to say it is to honor our common French last name, but we tend to omit the fact that the name comes by the way of Scotland to colonial America long before any Bastille was stormed. Perhaps we love it for no other reason than we both speak French and enjoy French culture. Plus, AAM can randomly yell French phrases, including violent ones about storming the Bastille. A French themed meal, some Edith Piaf, and some red wine, and you have a fun holiday. Unfortunately, I can’t help but cook like an Italian, even on Bastille day. We cooked a gratin, but with a lighter, more Italian flair.

A gratin, traditionally a French dish, can be riffed on for your own special liking.  We used zucchini and summer squash for this one. Looking at the picture guess which came from our garden.

The giant summer squash! These days, we are eating lighter in our house, so we are less interested in the ones doused in cream. Ina Garten does this dish with cream and gruyere, but the heaviness is too much for zucchini. She also uses 6 tablespoons of butter. I know this is the French way, but we seriously can not afford to eat like that all the time. So, I took out the cream and added my homemade chunky tomato sauce. Then, I put in 1 tb of butter for sweetness, but matched it with olive oil. Instead of gruyere, we used mozzarella, which is naturally low-fat. Feel free to add garlic or shallots to this dish, I had planned on it, but just forgot. C’est la vie!

** This is a meal where exchanging for vegan ingredients can be easy. Swap the butter for olive oil, mozzarella for the vegan kind, and skip the Pecorino Romano. We have done that plenty of times, and it tastes just as good. This meal we were trying to get rid of some dairy in the fridge, since we are trying to go more vegan (and I am too frugal to toss it).

Zucchini Gratin

  • 3 medium summer squash, sliced relatively thinly
  • 1/2 medium onion, sliced
  • 2 tb olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup of homemade tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs, preferably seasoned
  • 1/2 cup of part-skim mozzarella, shredded
  • 2 tb Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1 tb butter
  • Salt
  • Pepper

1. Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees

2. In a saute pan, saute the onions in 1 tb of olive oil over medium heat. Next, turn the heat to high and pan-sear the squash.

3. Meanwhile, melt the butter. Mix in the breadcrumbs, olive oil, salt, pepper, and mozzarella.

4. In a baking dish, add the veggies and mix in the tomato sauce.

5. Then, top with the breadcrumb mixture. Sprinkle Pecorino Romano cheese on top.

6. Bake for 20 minutes.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Elizabeth permalink
    July 26, 2012 9:23 am

    I made this last night and I can’t decide what I liked most about this – how quick it takes to make, how easy it was to clean up, or how absolutely delicious it was. Were two of us supposed to eat it all? Go Vegetarian Salmon!

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