Easy Zucchini Gratin Topped with Crunchy Cracker MealElizabeth Stark
The first chilly fall breezes have me instantly craving comfort food like this zucchini gratin. Since traditional gratins can lack crunch and texture, I’ve topped mine with crunchy cracker meal and rich, flavorful Asiago cheese. The result is a nicely-textured, hearty, side that will be the perfect side dish for your fall dinners.
This nontraditional gratin is topped with a mixture of crunchy cracker meal and cheese. You can make your own cracker meal by placing crackers (such as saltines) in a baggie and smashing with a rolling pin until the crackers are uniformly pulverized. Japanese panko is also an excellent choice for this recipe.
Easy Zucchini Gratin (adapted from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for topping
1 large yellow onion, sliced thin
2 shallots, sliced thin
3 – 4 large zucchini, sliced into 1/2″ thick coins
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup milk, warmed or room temperature
3/4 cup cracker meal or panko
1 cup grated Asiago
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Butter an 8″ square baking dish and set aside.
In a large 12″ skillet, heat the butter over medium heat. When the butter is bubbly and fragrant, add the shallots and onion, and toss to coat with butter. Turn heat to medium-low and cook shallots and onions for about 10 minutes, or until the edges are browned and the onions are translucent.
Next, add the zucchini. Toss in 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and the pepper, and gently fold the zucchini into the onions. Cook over medium-low heat for 6 – 7 minutes, turning the zucchini occasionally. Stir in the flour, and then the milk. Turn heat to low, and, stirring frequently, cook for another 4 minutes, or until the milk and butter have thickened up.
Meanwhile, combine the cracker meal, cheese, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a small bowl.
Spoon mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle on the cracker and cheese mixture, and then scatter 1 tablespoon of butter in chunks over the top.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until the topping is lightly browned and the filling is bubbling.
Cool for 10 minutes and serve.
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