Vegetable Gratin

July 19, 2012 § Leave a comment

This is an heirloom recipe. Which is to say, my mum started making it at Christmas many years ago (possibly for the vegetarians in the extended family?) because it is Christmas-coloured and now it has a permanent place in our Christmas lunch. Although it’s quite possible that only mum and myself know this, or care.

Like a ratatouille with a breadcrumb/parmesan crust, the simple gratin is surprisingly delicious, and good cold the next day. Serve with bread and butter on a weeknight, or as a side with roasts.

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, thinly-sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed with the blade of the knife and chopped
1 red capsicum, thinly sliced
2 small zucchini, sliced into coins
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
1 tin crushed or diced tomatoes
1/4 cup white wine (optional: only if you have it in your kitchen already)
ground pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups breadcrumbs
1 cup grated parmesan
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley

Serves 4-6 as a side dish.

Pre-heat oven to 180°C.

In a large (wide) pan, melt the butter with the olive oil. Turn the heat to medium and add the onion and garlic, cook (stirring and turning) until the onion is translucent then add the capsicum and zucchini. Keep turning the veg together and cook on medium until the capsicum and zucchini have softened. Add a pinch of chili flakes (or more). At this point you can “deglaze” with a quarter cup of white wine if you have it, but it’s not vital: turn the heat to high, add the wine and allow the alchohol to cook off for 30 seconds. Turn the heat back to medium and add the tin of tomatoes and a couple of tablespoons of water.

Cook this until the zucchini start to turn translucent, then add 1 teaspoon salt and lots of freshly-ground black pepper, taste it as you go. Scrape ingredients into the gratin dish (0ven safe!).

In a medium bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs, parmesan, and the chopped parsley, with a little ground pepper. Pour this on top of the vegetables and put in the oven. Cook for about 20 minutes, until the crust is quite golden. Serve.


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