Iron Chef Maurice Delivers - or - Takin' It For Gratin

A present-for-no-reason arrived at my door the other day. Iron Chef Maurice gave me a copy of one of his favorite cookbooks: Bistro Cooking by Patricia Wells. It’s a beautiful book, and Maurice pointed out the gratin section, especially a gratin dauphinois with blue cheese.

I was in the mood for a gratin myself, but something a bit more summery. She had the perfect recipe: tomato and zucchini gratin. It reeks of summer, though it does take a bit to get the oven turned on to 400 degrees.

We ate it outside with some grilled chicken and some bread to mop up all of the juicy goodness. I thought it had a kind of pizza flavor, what with the tomatoes and cheese.

Here’s how I made it:

Zucchini, sliced very thinly into disks
Tomatoes, cored and also sliced thinly
Fresh thyme
Olive Oil
Parmesan Cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees (ouch!)

I lightly salted the zucchini disks and let them sit on some paper towels to keep them from being too watery. After about 20 minutes I turned them once and then about 15 minutes wiped the salt off.

Wells has you rub a cut clove of garlic in the au gratin pain, something I learned from the French to do in my salad bowl as well.

Then you place one layer of zucchini on the bottom. Follow that with a single layer of tomatoes. Repeat with zucchini and tomatoes until you run out or you reach the top of your dish.

I put a few breadcrumbs on the very top. I don’t know why. I just did.

Sprinkle the fresh thyme on the top along with about 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil.

Bake for about 20 minutes. I knew mine was done with the veggies seemed a little soft and it was making lots of noise (think a soft hissing sound).

Grate a fair amount of Parmesan on top, and put the dish under the broiler (keeping a good eye on it) until it lightly browns.

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