Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Summer Vegetable Gratin

LESLIE BUDEWITZ: I’ve long believed it important to have friends who cook well. Not only does that make for tasty parties, you can get all kinds of ideas to recreate at home.

My friend Jan make this Summer Vegetable Gratin last winter when I visited her and her husband, Ken, in Arizona after Left Coast Crime in Phoenix. Turns out the blog where she’d found the recipe adapted it from one of my favorite sites, the ever-trustworthy Williams Sonoma blog. According to the experts at WS, the dish originates in Provence—no wonder we love it! It’s often called a tian, the French name for both a shallow earthenware casserole as well as the layered vegetables, herbs and cheeses baked in it. Unlike WS, I won’t try to sell you the casserole. And any glass or ceramic dish, roughly 8X8 or 10X10, will work beautifully. The closer and more upright you layer the veggies, the yummier.

Whether you call it a gratin or a tian, it’s an excellent side dish for salmon, chicken, or red meat.

Congratulations to Sheila Connolly for the release today of Dead End Street, her 7th Museum Mystery, and to Krista Davis for the release of The Diva Serves High Tea! 

Summer Vegetable Gratin, aka Tian

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 large white or yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium zucchini, sliced 1/8-inch thick
1 medium crookneck squash, sliced 1/8-inch thick
1 medium Yukon Gold potato, sliced thinly
1-2 medium tomatoes, sliced thinly
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 cup grated Parmesan or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Preheat an oven to 350°F. Lightly coat a 2-quart baking dish with olive oil or spray with non-stick olive oil cooking spray.

In fry pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about one minute.

Spray or oil the baking dish. Spread the sauteed onions and garlic in the bottom of the dish. Layer the vegetables over the onions in alternating rows, close together, with each row of vegetables overlapping the previous row. Sprinkle with rosemary, thyme, and salt and pepper. Cover with a lid or foil and bake 30 minutes. Remove cover and top with cheese; bake an additional 15-20 minutes, until cheese is golden brown.

Serves 6.

From the cover of GUILTY AS CINNAMON: 

Murder heats up Seattle’s Pike Place Market in the next Spice Shop mystery from the national bestselling author of Assault and Pepper.

Pepper Reece knows that fiery flavors are the spice of life. But when a customer dies of a chili overdose, she finds herself in hot pursuit of a murderer…

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. The president of Sisters in Crime, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat Ruff, a cover model and avid bird-watcher.

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  1. Pat (patdupuy@yahoo.com)June 7, 2016 at 9:34 AM

    That looks delicious but labor intensive. Or maybe it is just too early in the morning to think about cooking!

    1. Ha -- my typing errors made it seem more complicated than it is! But there is some slicing involved, so you'll need to be awake!

  2. Very pretty.
    The instructions seem to repeat steps--put in the onions and garlic, layer the veggies, bake and then add cheese. Then you say to mix the veggies with the seasonings, and proceed from there.
    Can you clarify this?

    1. Libby, you are hired as my new proofreader! I'd found the online version, copied it, and rewrote it to reflect how Jan made it with my own variations, but forgot to delete the original instructions. Much simpler now -- thanks!

  3. Beautiful, Leslie. I have to try this when the squash and zucchini come in!

    1. Oooh, toss a couple of blossoms on top for garnish!

  4. This sounds really good! Being a vegetarian, I always need new recipes to try. Thank you!

    1. A great dish for vegetarians who eat dairy. Enjoy!

  5. Love this! Thanks. Always on the look out for veggie casseroles. Especially in the summer when everything is so fresh Della

    1. I'll be sharing a few more veggie dishes this summer -- I hope you enjoy them!

  6. I can almost smell this--the essence of the best of summer! I will have to try this soon.

  7. Thanks, Peg -- summer's bounty is such a treat!

  8. YUM! And like I always say, everything is better with cheese!