Recipe: Zucchini Au Gratin
1 large or extra large zucchini squash
1/2 cup minced yellow onion
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil, for sauteing
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/8 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp garlic powder
a pinch of nutmeg [optional but delicious!]
a pinch of allspice
a pinch of salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup freshly grated fontina cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
2-3 TBSP fresh chopped spinach
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
3-4 buttery crackers, crushed [I used honey cornbread crackers]
- Pre-heat oven to 350º F.
- Slice your zucchini into similarly sized discs – around the same thickness as you’d slice a cucumber for a salad.
- Blanch the zucchini slices and follow it up with an ice bath and a light sprinkle of salt to draw out the moisture tucked away in the squash.
- Grab the now-empty pot you used to blanch your zucchini and bring to medium-high heat with a tsp of olive oil or butter. Sauté the onion and garlic until tender and translucent. Add 1/2 cup of grated cheddar along with the milk, chopped spinach, paprika, garlic powder, nutmeg, allspice, and a pinch of salt since you’ll be patting some of the salt off the zucchini. Stir well and remove from heat. Stir in your egg and set aside.
- Next give your zucchini discs one last paper towel pat to remove any liquid the salt may have drawn out. Line a shallow baking dish with the sliced zucchini and pour the cheddar-onion mixture over the center. Top with 1/2 cup of fontina and an extra 1/4 cup of cheddar cheese. Sprinkle with a few red pepper flakes, to taste, along with some crushed cracker crumbs. Ritz crackers tend to work great as did the Milton Honey Cornbread crackers I used, anything crumbly and buttery! To keep gluten out of the equation, grab some GF crackers or breadcrumbs or simply skip ’em altogether.
- Cover loosely with foil and bake at 350º F for around 15-18 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove the foil and set the oven to broil on high for an additional 3-5 minutes to give the cheese that extra-golden crust to it, but be sure to keep an eye for it to prevent charring.