Are you dealing with a glut of zucchini this summer?
Sadly, we're not ...
I was away in California when it was time to plant, but my helper did get the plants in the ground before I returned home. They are growing but harvest will be delayed because of the late planting.
I miss my zucchini!!
But thanks to our dear neighbors I don't have to go without good, fresh homegrown zucchini! (These is the same wonderful couple who share http://www.onceuponaplate1.com/2011/06/asparagus-cream-cheese-rolls-in.html, and other goodies from their prolific garden with us.)
Thank you P & J !!!
The one thing I'm not short on is a folder full of great zucchini recipes ~ and this is one of them (it's from Simply Recipes, click the link to access the recipe.)
It's very good . . . what can I say? It has BACON in it. Enough said. :D
Although you could omit if you're a vegetarian, or don't eat pork. Over at "Simply Recipes" it is suggested that you could substitute a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, or butter in lieu of the bacon. I'm thinking you could also substitute turkey bacon as another alternative.
So the remainder of the ingredients are zucchini (of course), and frozen spinach (I used fresh because I had it in the fridge.) Bacon, an onion, parsley, 1/2 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese*, fresh garlic, 3 eggs, olive oil and freshly ground black pepper. I also added some fresh thyme leaves, just because I love thyme so much and it's prolific in my gardens.
*I would also like to try it with Monterey Jack, or Gruyere cheese in place of the Parmesan, with a little salt added since those cheeses are not as salty as Parmesan. And how about some diced or sliced sauteed mushrooms? Yum!
You can use your food processor to grate the zucchini, cheese, and to process the spinach and garlic to reduce prep time. Then it's just a matter of combining the ingredients and placing the mixture into an oiled 2 quart baking dish then back for 35 to 45 minutes in a preheated 350° (F) oven. Keep an eye on the gratin at about 25 minutes, as I think it's best if not over baked.
I don't think waiting until the top to brown (as the original recipe directed) is essential (nor desirable) for this type of gratin, with virtually no other liquid the eggs will become tough. Naturally the timing will depend upon the dimensions and material of the baking dish you choose. I removed it from the oven while the center of the gratin was still slightly jiggly, and it firmed up out of the oven with retained carry-over heat (and the heavy ceramic baking dish I used.) A bit overdone for my taste. Next time, I'll definitely remove it a few minutes sooner because I prefer it a little more tender, but it was still very tasty.
You can serve it as a main, or as a side dish. I served it as the main course with some sliced ruby red tomatoes drizzled with a Dijon-Shallot vinaigrette ~ a perfectly fine dinner! This can also be served at room temperature, another bonus is that any leftovers reheat well.
You can get the step by step tutorial through the Simply Recipes link above.
Years ago, back in the day before personal computers, my mother and I would clip good-sounding recipes from the weekly food section in our local newspaper. This is one of the hundreds that we saved, really simple to make (you don't really even need a recipe). When I make any of these old recipes from the newspaper I am reminded yet again how much I miss Mom. *sigh*
Not content to leave the recipe as it was (the original was a bit bland for my palate now) I've tweaked it slightly over the years to make it a little more flavorful.
The ingredients are sliced mushrooms (white or brown), green onions (I used chives this time), olive oil, lemon juice (or your favorite vinegar), a little Worcestershire sauce, salt, freshly ground black pepper, a little sugar for balance and Dijon Mustard. Right before serving it is garnished with crisp bacon pieces. I add a few crushed pink peppercorns as well.
Any time of year it makes a very nice first course, or a light lunch or dinner and can be made a little heartier by adding some cubed or crumbled cheese (most any kind you like), cooked chicken, shrimp, or beef. Vine ripe tomatoes are another flavorful addition in the summer. You may also add a sliced hard cooked egg along with the bacon at the last moment.
The original recipe suggested slicing the mushrooms and tossing them with the vinaigrette, allowing the flavors to meld for several hours or overnight, then adding the crisp bacon just before serving. Usually I just make it and allow the mushrooms to marinate for 30 minutes to 4 hours, stirring once or twice to distribute the vinaigrette evenly. I prefer the texture of the mushrooms using the shorter marinade time.
You can serve it up on individual salad plates spooned over Romain lettuce leaves, and it's also very pretty served in a glass serving bowl, that way each diner can help themselves to the amount they want.
If this sounds appealing to you and you would like the recipe, you'll find it over on my recipe blog.
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