My friend Susie lives here in Murphys but also lives in Santa Barbara half the time. She put her garden in a couple of weeks ago and then headed south for awhile. She asked me to check on how things were growing and take anything that I wanted...what a nice offer. I headed over to check out the bounty, only to find that the bugs were having a party and the only thing I could grab was a big, beautiful, fat summer squash. Okay, fine, I can use this! When I got home, I went to check out Annie's (in my back yard) garden and found a couple of golden zucchini, perfect. I had seen a recipe for a squash gratin in Food and Wine magazine that I wanted to try, it looked so interesting the way the squash were arranged. I changed a few things about it but the result is still the stunning, summer casserole that will delight your friends and family. Oh, and it tastes pretty good too. Take THAT bugs!
Summer Squash Bake
1/4 c extra virgen olive oil
1 yellow onion, peeled and cut into quarters, sliced thinly
1 t sugar
1/4 white wine
6 pieces of summer squash, zucchini, yellow crookneck, striped globe, any combo will work, cut lengthwise into 1/8" slices, use a *mandoline for best results
1 c grated sharp white cheddar (you could sub gruyere or other tangy, sharp cheese)
6 - 8 baby tomatoes cut in half
sea salt and pepper
2 T parmesan to sprinkle on top
a few leaves of basil torn for garnish (optional)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Heat 2T of the olive oil in a skillet and add the onions, a bit of salt and a grind of pepper. Cook until soft and slightly browned. Sprinkle with the sugar and cook for a minute more. Pour the wine over and cook for a couple of minutes more until the wine has evaporated. Place the onions in a gratin dish or shallow pie plate distributing evenly.
Slice the squash lengthwise on a mandoline and place on a sheet pan. Brush with the remaining olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the grated cheese over and let sit for about 5 minutes to soften. Take a piece of squash and roll it up, setting it on the caramelized onions. Repeat with the remaining slices of squash working outward from the center until you reach the edge of the dish. Tuck the tomatoes in between the squash at various places. Whatever cheese is left on the baking sheets, just add that to the top of the bake. Bake for 30 minutes and then run under the broiler for a few minutes if it isn't browned enough. Sprinkle with parmesan and torn basil. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 6-8.
* a mandoline is invaluable in my kitchen and should be in yours too. They are available on line for about $25. I have had mine forever and it stays super sharp so be careful!
As a caterer for over 30 years, I have established a reputation for consistently creating original menus inspired by the occasion and the season, presenting them with an ease and elegance uniquely my own. Fresh, locally-sourced ingredients are the basis of my creative “from scratch” menus, which range from the classically elegant to rustic and whimsical.
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