I made that!

Finally, a Gratin

Posted in I Like Salt Too by brandi on August 19, 2011

I’ve been searching for this recipe for quite a while now. A gratin. A great dish. A great word. Grataaaaaaaannnn… I could repeat it many, many times without getting bored. Maybe I should get a more interesting life?

But anyways, the point is that gratin should be easy enough. When I imagine it, it’s just like in Ratatouille, where I effortlessly slice some veggies and toss them into a shallow dish with a little cheese and herbs. A quick trip in the oven later and out comes a beautiful summer dinner. Somehow though, mine never go that way. They’re always too “something”: too watery, too heavy, too oily, too bland. I had all but given up on the gratin until I happened upon this recipe. The photo made me so hungry that I actually placed a zucchini gratin on the menu for a class I’m teaching at The Pantry because THEN I would HAVE to recipe-test it to perfection. Oh my friends, summer just got better. For me anyways. What better way to use up the mountain of summer squash growing in your garden than with trays and trays of crispy, cheese-laden, buttery breadcrumbed gratin?

Sure, this wasn’t as easy-peasy as the gratin in my fantasies, but it certainly was as tasty. I started by salting some thinly sliced zucchini until it released all of its water.

Then I got to work on the magic herby sauce that I would eventually toss the zucchini in.

And browned butter, did I mention that there was browned butter involved? It gets tossed into fresh breadcrumbs to make a nutty slice of heaven.

Everything got tossed together with some gruyere.

And baked until it was nicely browned and crispy.

And then yes, me and my good friend Merriss ate it straight out of the pan. There were some burned mouths by the end, but we didn’t really care. We were in a gratin coma.


I made a few changes to the original recipe: more cheese, slightly less oil and shallots, and a lot more lemon juice. I left out the jalapeno, which I know is a bit weird for me, but I really wanted the zucchini to have center stage on this one.

Zucchini Gratin with Salsa Verde

Yield: 4 servings

Salsa Verde:

1 teaspoon fresh oregano

1/4 cup coarsely chopped mint

1 cup coarsely chopped parsley

1 small clove garlic

1 anchovy

1/2 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon capers, drained

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Black pepper to taste


2 pounds zucchini

1 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup sliced shallot

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon fresh thyme

1 1/2 cups grated Gruyere cheese

– Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the squash into 1/8-inch-thick slices. Toss the slices in a large bowl with 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and let sit for 30 minutes.

– Meanwhile, using a food processor, grind the herbs, garlic and anchovies and half of the oil to a paste. Transfer the mixture to a bowl.

– Gently pound the capers until they’re partially crushed and add them to the herbs. Stir in the remaining oil, the lemon juice, salt and black pepper. Taste for balance and seasoning.

– Place the breadcrumbs in a bowl. Heat the butter in a small saute pan over medium heat for a few minutes, until it browns and smells nutty. Pour the brown butter over the breadcrumbs, being sure to scrape all the brown bits into the bowl with a rubber spatula. Wait a minute or so for the butter to cool, and toss well. Set aside.

– Drain the squash well and transfer it to a large mixing bowl. Add the shallots, minced garlic, thyme, 1/2 cup of the salsa verde, and some pepper. Toss to combine, and add the cheese and half the butter-coated breadcrumbs. Toss again, and taste for seasoning.

– Place the squash in a 9-by-9-inch gratin dish. Scatter the remaining breadcrumbs over the top, and bake 40 to 45 minutes, until the squash is tender and the top is crisp.


29 Responses

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  1. Debjani said, on August 19, 2011 at 10:51 am

    This reminds me of a gratin I made last summer. I woke up in the middle of the night remembering that it was my turn to bring lunch into the office and all I had in the fridge was one of those monster end of summer zuchinnis. Thanks to this comment:


    I made a zuchinni-rice-cheesy gratin and it was fantastic! A hit! The best office lunch of 2010!!!

    Thanks for reminding me of it, ti really was one of those just-throw-it-in-the-pan-and-add-a-load-of-cheese gratins. Zero effort, and I think the addition of rice to soak up the sauces was genius. I must make it again, and your gratin too of course!

  2. Lori said, on August 19, 2011 at 10:59 am

    This sounds so yummy! Thanks for sharing the recipe. I will add zucchini to my farmer’s market shopping list..

  3. Valerie said, on August 19, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    I’ve missed your posts! Glad to have you back!

  4. Rosie said, on August 19, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    Your posts make me happy. Thanks for giving me something delicious to do with all my zucchini!

  5. Irma said, on August 20, 2011 at 1:39 am

    Ok, I’t’s very early in the morning here. I’ll try that again. “Hi! Happy to read you again! I’ve been missing your posts!! The grattin looks delish!”

  6. Meister @ The Nervous Cook said, on August 20, 2011 at 8:05 am

    It would never occur to me to use zucchini in a dish like this! I’m so used to the plain ol’ potatoes au gratin my mother used to make. (My sister would beg for it, which was always a mystery to me. It was so boring!)

    Great idea — I’ll have to use my next batch from the CSA for this one.

  7. Hadley Galbraith said, on August 20, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    oh I am SOOOO making this within the week!

  8. Laurel Dalzell said, on August 20, 2011 at 11:09 pm

    Mmmm! Sounds great! I love your blog and can’t wait to try this! Thanks for another great post for using fresh, seasonal veggies.

  9. Kathryn | Dramatic Pancake said, on August 21, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    Casseroles and gratins = my favorite things ever. Looks SO GOOD!

  10. sunflowerchild11 said, on August 22, 2011 at 5:43 am

    It’s all about the words. I think anything sounds better in French. Why would you say pastry chef when you can use “pâtissière”? Add a silly accent and wear a beret when you eat your grataaaaan 🙂

  11. Michelle said, on August 23, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    I LOVE this idea of a summer gratin. I could devour the entire dish if left to my own devices. nice work – I will soon follow suit!

  12. […] Zucchini Gratin with Salsa Verde [I Made That!] A step-by-step guide to cheesy, squash-filled goodness. […]

  13. kyleen said, on August 26, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    This looks delicious! I made a gratin using grated zucchini before and it tasted pretty good. I’m going to try it with sliced zucchini next time.

  14. Lisa Marie said, on August 29, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    Can’t wait to make this tonight!!! If I make extra salsa verde, how long will it last in the fridge? Also, any fun ideas for other uses?

  15. Denise | Chez Danisse said, on September 2, 2011 at 5:50 am

    Found you via Lecia.

    Beautiful gratin! An inspiration.

  16. alliem4 said, on September 2, 2011 at 11:34 pm

    Yum! I’m going to the kitchen to see if I have everything to make this right now!


  17. Zharmagne said, on September 5, 2011 at 7:20 am

    I was wondering if I could use my stocked pesto sauce as an alternative to the salsa verde? Would that work too?

  18. […] at I Made That!’s Zucchini Gratin.  I haven’t made this yet, but I intend to.  Picture shamelessly pilfered from her site, […]

  19. Brenda said, on September 14, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    Oh snap, this looks insanely delicious. I’ll have to give this one a go. Thanks Brandi.

  20. Around the Web « Tamarind and Thyme said, on September 18, 2011 at 1:54 am

    […] very green courgette gratin at I made that! looks like another great way to use up that ubiquitous […]

  21. Zita said, on October 21, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    wow i will definitely try that out sometimes soon.

  22. Hadley said, on November 6, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    Just made this but hast replace a few things-for the salsa verde I used thyme basil and oregano, so I left outthethyme in the zucchini mix. I didn’t have any anchovies so I left that out. It was deeeeeliciouuuus and I am having trouble not eating what’s left right this second!

  23. Miriam said, on November 8, 2011 at 2:12 am

    thanks for this. I’m going through courgettes like there’s no tomorrow at the moment, and I’m getting a little bit tired of the same recipes. Will try this recipe out! DROOL.

  24. Eggton said, on November 12, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    Hi! I just made an awesome zucchini gratin with APPLE in it. It was a random kitchen event based on what was in the refrigerator and it was amazing. It’s at http://www.eggton.com if it’s of interest. But I believe I will make this one next, because it sounds so savory with all those salty-delicious ingredients, like capers and anchovies. Yum.

  25. Family Meals and Cooking Tips said, on November 22, 2011 at 1:52 am

    I always seem to have lots of zucchini to use up so this will be a great one for me. It’s great when you find a good new make ahead side dish to add to the repetoire. Thanks

  26. Jess HF said, on May 25, 2012 at 9:05 am

    I saw this recipe posted on Pinterest. I modified it (no onions! different spices, had to use fontina/parm cheese) but it was sooooooo yummy! It was great because my garden produces zucchini in obscene quantities.

  27. Anna said, on September 9, 2012 at 4:20 am

    Wow! What a fab recipe! I finally know what to do with all the zucchini in the garden!
    I’ve pinned it and spread the word 🙂
    Thanks, Anna

  28. Kamča Hrbáčová said, on November 17, 2012 at 4:59 am


  29. laurasmess said, on January 11, 2013 at 11:31 pm

    Wow, this looks amazing! I love zucchini, I’ve recently been trying to invent more recipes containing them but I’ve not gone as far as gratin… definitely trying this! Thanks for sharing x

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