Tomato & Zucchini Gratin

by Matt on August 14, 2008

Tomato-Gratin-Final-Large

I'm really loving these weekly recipe get-togethers organized by Dinner Tonight.  It's so nice to pick an ingredient and see what people come up with and it makes me feel like I'm attending some virtual potluck. Very cool.

This week's challenge was tomatoes, and if you're a reader of Mattbites you'll know that I tend to go overboard during summer when it comes to these things. I was going for a bit of restraint this year. Yea yea I know, restraint and me don't really get along. I'm trying.

While looking for recipes for this week I kept getting drawn back to old cookbook from the 50s and 60s that I have in my collection. It seemed that baked and broiled tomatoes were all the rage but thinking of putting a beautiful heirloom into the oven and baking it until soft and mushy seemed to border on blasphemy. Oh no! At the same time I cannot count the number of tomatoes I've eaten raw since June. I needed something different, something that was hearty enough to be a side or main dish.

This recipe, a tomato and zucchini gratin, seems to be the most basic thing ever. In fact, I made it from a conversation with Adam who actually created the same dish a few weeks ago during a packaging shoot. And it's right up my alley — a few ingredients, cheese, substantial enough to be an easy supper, and cheese. Did I say that already?

And in my homage to Time-Life Books of yesteryear I photographed my gratin to reflect a look that seems to be making its way back into popularity. And you wanna know what else I did? I ate the entire damn thing.

Tomato & Zucchini Gratin
Folks, don't hate me. I'm not including exact measurements again because 1) I'm not a recipe writer and 2) my recipe and food writer friends will inevitably pick it apart and show me the errors of my ways.  So I give you a very loose interpretation. And besides, it's not like it's a cake or a dozen scones. Add a little of this, a little of that…it'll be ok. Trust me.

You'll need:
roma tomatoes
an onion
a few zucchini
grated cheese (I had Pecorino on hand from a photo shoot but almost any hard cheese could work)
some olive oil
some herbs

Chop the onion and saute until translucent. Next slice roma tomatoes and zucchini into evenly thin slices and layer in a pan or baking dish. I oiled mine because I wasn't quite sure if things would stick, but it's not necessary. Layer the tomatoes, zucchini and sauteed onions and top with a bit of cheese, repeating until you've reached the top of the dish. Cover with foil and bake at 350˚ for 20-30 minutes. After that you'll want to top with a final layer of grated cheese and bake for another 8-10 minutes, uncovered, until cheese melts. I cheated a bit by putting on way more cheese and broiling it for 2 minutes so I'd have a nice color for the photo, but you can certainly do that as well. After cooking I topped with some chopped herbs, let it cool for about 30 minutes and dug in. It was fantastic.

There are quite a few recipes online for tomato gratins. Feel free to look for them if you are the type that needs exact measurements. You certainly will not hurt my feelings!