In this vegetable au gratin recipe, slices of the various vegetables are to a pan in a circular arrangement and then topped it with breadcrumbs and cheese making for a simple and aesthetically pleasing side. This lightened up style of gratin,(similar to confit byaldi but without a pepper sauce), is made with a selection of vegetables typically included in ratatouille, a Provençal French stew often served ladled over polenta. Rather than tossing the vegetables in a creamy bechamel sauce, I lighten up the recipe with sautéed onions in olive oil as the base.
While taking the time to alternate the vegetables takes a little more time, it makes the vegetable casserole look picture perfect. To cut down on time the vegetables can be alternated in sections rather than every other. To get even slices I recommend using a mandolin though using a sharp chef’s knife also works well.
A French dish with a crust of browned breadcrumbs or melted cheese typically prepared in a shallow dish. Gratins are frequently made with potatoes like this recipe here, though it can be made with other vegetables as well. For a more unique twist try it with Brussels sprouts like this recipe here.
Heat a 12” (30cm) heat proof baking dish over medium heat, add the olive oil and heat through. Add the garlic and thyme and sauté until fragrant and the garlic is golden, about 1 minute. Use tongs to remove the garlic and thyme and discard. (See tips and tricks section for instructions if you are using a glass or ceramic baking dish).
Return the pan with the infused oil to heat. Add the onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 8 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400ºF (200ºC). Add the onions to the bottom of a 12-inch oval ceramic dish. Alternate the slices of eggplant, zucchini, summer squash and tomato slices in the baking dish in a spiral formation. Season with salt.
Heat a medium non-stick sauté pan over medium heat, add the butter and allow to melt. Add the breadcrumbs and sauté, stirring frequently, until the breadcrumbs are golden brown, about 5 minutes.
Sprinkle the Gruyere and Parmesan cheese over the vegetables and top with the breadcrumbs.
Bake until the top is golden brown and the vegetables are tender, about 20 to 25 minutes.
The goal of this recipe is to use as few dishes as possible so I like to use a baking dish that I can also use to sauté the garlic, thyme and onions first. If you don’t have this available then I recommend making steps 1 and 2 in a separate sauté pan then adding the oil and onions to the bottom of a baking dish.
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