I don’t know about you but I enjoy my colourful, as well as tasty, food. this zucchini, eggplant and tomato gratin presses all the buttons!
It is important to lightly salt the zucchini and eggplant. This helps avoid the resulting dish being too sloppy.
This dish always reminds me of the beautifully illustrated film, Ratatouille. I know, I know, it’s a gratin!
Zucchini, Eggplant & Tomato Gratin – serves 4 – 6
- 1 cup thinly sliced shallots
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 1 large eggplant, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
- 1 large yellow squash, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
- 1 large zucchini, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 medium vine-ripe tomatoes, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds, pips removed
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
- 4 large leaves fresh basil, cut into chiffonade
- 1 French baguette or other crusty bread, for serving
- You will need a 1 1/2 quart oval or rectangular baking dish.
- Place an oven rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.
- Combine the shallots, garlic, 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 teaspoon thyme in a baking dish. Bake, stirring halfway through, until lightly caramelized, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool.
- Line 2 baking sheets with cooling racks. Divide the eggplant, yellow squash and zucchini between the 2 sheets. Season the vegetables with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Let stand 30 minutes.
- Firmly press the vegetables with a kitchen towel to remove excess water. Lift the racks from the baking sheets and brush off any excess water and salt. Transfer the vegetables onto the sheet trays.
- Add the tomatoes to one of the sheet trays. Toss each type of vegetable with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon thyme and salt and pepper to taste.
- Make one stack of vegetables on a baking sheet. Start with 1 tomato slice, top it with 1 to 2 slices of zucchini, depending on the size, 1 to 2 slices of yellow squash, and then top with 1 slice of eggplant. (The zucchini and yellow squash slices should fill the same amount of space as the tomato and eggplant; if they are smaller slices, use two.)
- Place the stack on its side in the baking dish, on top of the caramelized shallots. Repeat making stacks and adding them into the baking dish in a spiral, working from the outside inward. If there are extra vegetables, add them to the center of the dish at the end. Sprinkle with the Parmesan.
- Bake until the vegetables are tender and the cheese is melted and golden brown, 35 minutes.
- Let cool 15 minutes before garnishing with the basil. Serve with a good crusty bread.