Zucchini and Yellow Squash Au Gratin

Zucchini and Yellow Squash Au Gratin is a delicious and refined twist on the classic French gratin. The term ‘au gratin’ refers to a culinary technique that involves creating a browned crust, typically using breadcrumbs, cheese, or both. This recipe celebrates the natural sweetness and flavors of summer squash—zucchini and yellow squash—making it a wonderful way to add more vegetables to your diet without compromising on taste. Whether served as a comforting side dish or a standalone vegetarian meal, this gratin is sure to impress at any table.

The Origins and Appeal of Gratin

Gratin is a cherished French culinary tradition known for its versatility and rich flavors. While traditionally prepared with various ingredients, all gratins share the hallmark of a golden, crispy top. Often served as a side dish, gratins can also be easily adapted into a main course with the right ingredients.

Health Benefits of Zucchini and Yellow Squash

Zucchini and yellow squash are nutritional stars. They are low in calories but rich in essential vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and potassium. Additionally, these vegetables are packed with antioxidants and dietary fiber, making them an excellent choice for a healthy diet. Incorporating them into a gratin not only enhances their natural flavors but also boosts the nutritional value of your meal.

Ingredients for Zucchini and Yellow Squash Au Gratin

To prepare this delicious dish, you will need:

  • Zucchinis, thinly sliced: 2 medium
  • Yellow squashes, thinly sliced: 2 medium
  • Onion, thinly sliced: 1 small
  • Garlic, minced: 2 cloves
  • Heavy cream: 1 cup
  • Parmesan cheese, grated: 1 cup
  • Gruyere cheese, shredded: 1 cup
  • Breadcrumbs: 1/2 cup
  • Butter: 2 tablespoons
  • Fresh thyme leaves: 1 teaspoon
  • Salt: To taste
  • Pepper: To taste

Step-by-Step Directions

Preparation and Layering

  1. Preheat the Oven: Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Lightly grease a baking dish with butter to prevent sticking and enhance flavor.
  2. Layer the Vegetables: Arrange half of the sliced zucchinis and yellow squashes in an even layer in the baking dish. Sprinkle half of the sliced onions and minced garlic over the vegetables. Season with salt, pepper, and thyme. Repeat the layers with the remaining vegetables and season again.

Creating the Creamy Base

  1. Heat the Cream: In a small saucepan, heat the heavy cream over medium heat until it begins to simmer. Pour the hot cream evenly over the layered vegetables to ensure they soak up the rich creaminess.

Adding the Cheesy Crust

  1. Add Cheese: Sprinkle half of the Parmesan and Gruyere cheeses over the vegetables. In a small bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs and the remaining cheeses. Spread the breadcrumb mixture evenly over the top, ensuring a uniform crust. Dot with small pieces of butter to add richness and help in browning.

Baking to Perfection

  1. Bake: Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes to soften the vegetables. Remove the foil and continue baking for another 15-20 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the vegetables are tender.
  2. Rest and Serve: Allow the gratin to rest for a few minutes before serving to help set the layers and make it easier to serve.

Enjoy!

This Zucchini and Yellow Squash Au Gratin is a delightful way to savor the flavors of summer squash in a comforting and elegant dish. Serve it as a side or a main course, and enjoy the blend of textures and rich flavors that make this gratin a standout choice for any meal.

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