Some dishes are just so perfect that they cannot possibly be improved. One of those dishes comes from the great Ina Gartner. She managed to create a zucchini gratin that, for once, does not use tomatoes as a base for a zucchini gratin. You see, I do NOT like the combination of zucchini and tomatoes - at all! So, today I am sharing Ina’s fantastic recipe. It’s simply delicious, it’s easy on the eyes, and it also happens to be mostly beige in appearance. Of note here is that this dish should, ideally, come with an accompaniment. For me, this could be as simple as some Focaccia. Or you could have some Risi e Bisi to come along for the ride. Or some simple roasted rosemary potatoes. Maybe some roasted ham or some pork are more to your liking? In essence, you can go wrong!
3 or 4 slices of white bread 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, plus extra for topping
1 pound yellow onions (3 large), cut in half and sliced
2 pounds zucchini, sliced 1⁄4 inch thick
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1⁄4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup hot milk
3⁄4 cup fresh bread crumbs
3⁄4 cup Gruyere cheese, grated
Let’s get started:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Make fresh breadcrumbs by removing crusts from white bread and processing it in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Each slice makes about 1⁄3 cup crumbs.
Melt the butter in a very large (12 inch) saute pan and cook the onions over low heat for 20 minutes, or until tender but not browned.
Add the zucchini and cook, covered, for 10 minutes, or until tender.
Add the salt, pepper and nutmeg and cook uncovered for 5 more minutes.
Stir in the flour.
Add the hot milk and cook over low heat for a few minutes, until it makes a sauce.
Pour the mixture into an 8x10 inch baking dish.
Combine the bread crumbs and Gruyere and sprinkle on top of the zucchini mixture.
Dot with 1 tablespoon butter cut into small bits and bake for 20 minutes or until bubbly and browned.