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Cheesy zucchini gratin

This zucchini gratin is an amazing side dish and a great way to use up lots of zucchini or summer squash.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American, international
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6 servings
Calories 336kcal
Author Aleksandra

Ingredients

for the casserole:

  • 3.5 lbs (1.6kg) zucchini / summer squash 3 large zucchini or 6 small/medium zucchini
  • 4 tablespoons frying oil
  • 1 cup (100g) shredded cheese Gruyere/Swiss cheese, or other melting cheese of your choice

for the sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 5 cloves garlic finely chopped (not pressed)
  • 1.5 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup milk 120 ml
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream 120 ml
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste

breadcrumb topping:

  • 3 tablespoons butter 45g
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese 45g
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs 55g

Instructions

  • Prepare the zucchini: Cut 3.5 lbs (1.6 kg) zucchini into 1/4-inch (7mm) slices. Next, brown the zucchini in a pan. Heat the oil in a big frying pan over high heat. When hot, add the zucchini slices in one layer and cook briefly only until browned, flip over using two forks, and brown the slices on the other side. The zucchini doesn't have to be tender and cooked through, just browned. Transfer the zucchini into a plate lined with paper towels and repeat with the remaining zucchini slices. I usually cook the zucchini simultaneously in two frying pans. Pat the zucchini with paper towels to remove the excess fat. Place the zucchini in a large oval baking dish (9x13-inch / 23x33cm).
  • Preheat the oven to 375°F / 190°C / Gas Mark 5 (no fan, if you have a convection oven reduce the temperature by about 20° or follow the manufacturer's instructions).
  • Make the sauce: wipe excess oil from the pan and add 2 Tbsp of butter. When it's bubbling add 5 finely chopped garlic cloves and cook for about 30 seconds over medium heat, until fragrant. Add 1.5 Tbsp of flour and cook, stirring, for about a minute. Add all the other ingredients for the sauce - 1/2 cup cream, 1/2 cup milk, 1 ts of mustard, and 1 Tbsp of lemon juice. Cook for about a minute. Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Make the breadcrumb topping: Melt 3 Tbsp of butter in a small pot, take the pot off the heat. Stir in 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs until combined, then 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan.
  • Assemble the dish: Add the sauce to the zucchini and stir together. Top with 1 cup shredded cheese, then with the breadcrumb topping.
  • Bake for about 30 minutes or until the breadcrumb topping is golden.
  • Let the casserole rest for about 10 minutes before cutting into servings.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  • Instead of Gryuere cheese you can use Emmentaler cheese (Swiss cheese), Jarlsberg, Appenzeller cheese, Comte and Beaufort.
  • If you don't have Parmesan cheese on hand you can add more breadcrumbs, but the Parmesan adds lots of flavor to the dish.
  • Use other vegetables: broccoli or green beans would also work with this recipe. I would par-boil them first.
  • Alternatively, you could roast the zucchini - toss it with olive oil and roast in an oven preheated to 445°F/230°C for about 10 minutes or put it under the broiler for a while. The other, more calorie-friendly method would be salting the zucchini, setting aside for about 30 minutes, and patting dry with paper towels. Zucchini treated this way will lack some flavor, though.
  • Storing instructions:
    This zucchini gratin can be easily stored and reheated. It will still taste amazing. Store it in the fridge for up to 4 days (cover the baking dish). Reheat the whole casserole or just a couple of servings in an oven. I'm putting the casserole in a cold oven and set it to 375°F/190°C, then bake for about 15 minutes. I like to turn on the fan at the end of the baking to dry out the topping and make it more crunchy, just as freshly made. If you don't have this option in your oven, you can put it under the broiler for a couple of minutes (keep an eye on it so it won't burn). If your oven warms up more quickly than mine to may need to reduce the temperature a little. I don't recommend freezing this casserole. Theoretically, it would work but the zucchini would be very mushy and soft instead of a little crunchy. So it could be fine for a casual dinner but not for an important occasion.
  • Calories = 1 serving (1/6 of the recipe). This is only an estimate!

Nutrition

Calories: 336kcal