Recipe of the Week: Zucchini and Cauliflower Gratin
A quick and easy recipe for a perfect vegetable gratin dish to please family and friends. A staple in our house, everybody loves the cheesy creamy texture. I like to make it in the summer when zucchini are plentiful. Serves eight. (Chef tip: Add large shrimp or crab meat to the dish before baking it.)
1 head cauliflower
3 zucchini, coarsely grated
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon finely ground white pepper
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup shredded fontina cheese
1/3 cup grated parmesan, divided
1/3 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley, divided use
Prepare the cauliflower by removing the core and breaking the rest up into smaller pieces called florets. Then, using a food processor, pulse the cauliflower until they are tiny pieces that resemble rice grains. Be careful that the mixture doesn’t get mushy. Do this in batches.
Preheat oven to 375F. Lightly coat a shallow baking dish with olive oil and set aside.
Stir salt and grated zucchini together, then place colander set over a bowl to drain. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat, add onions and a pinch of salt, and cook stirring, until onion are softened, about five minutes. Meanwhile, squeeze handfuls of zucchini over the sink, removing most of the water from the zucchini.
When the onion is softened, reduce heat to medium and stir in the cauliflower, garlic and zucchini. Season with salt, and pepper to taste. Cook and stir for about five minutes, until the vegetables are softened. Sprinkle flour over the mixture and stir to combine to form a roux. Gradually stir in milk and cream and cook while stirring until thick and creamy. Remove from heat.
Stir in fontina cheese, thyme and one teaspoon of parsley. Pour into prepared dish and sprinkle the top with breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese. Bake uncover for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with parsley before serving it.