I think of zucchini as a summer vegetable, but in reality I use it all year. It’s one of the most versatile vegetables I cook with. This gratin, a Barefoot Contessa recipe, is a perfect way to serve it. The flavours – zucchini, onion, nutmeg – are very simple, but they meld together beautifully. And the Gruyère and bread crumb topping makes the dish special enough to serve for company. But my family is very happy when I make it just for them!
(from Barefoot in Paris, by Ina Garten)
6 Tbsp unsalted butter (first amount)
3 large yellow onions, cut in half and sliced (1 pound)
4 medium zucchini, sliced 1/4 inch thick (2 pounds)
1 tsp kosher salt
pinch of freshly ground pepper
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup hot milk
3/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
3/4 cup grated Gruyère cheese
1 Tbsp unsalted butter (second amount)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Melt the butter in a very large (12”) saucepan 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 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 8 x 10” baking dish.
Combine the bread crumbs and Gruyère and sprinkle on top of the zucchini mixture. Dot with 1 Tbsp butter cut into small bits. Bake for 20 minutes, or until bubbly and browned.