Every season, there’s that moment when the whole idea of "seasonality" wears thin — when you’re done with a particular variety of produce before it’s done with you. Or maybe it's just the inundation of summer squash, zucchini, and tomatoes that bring on those feelings. When it does, I throw together this simple little casserole and fall in love all over again.
One bite into this gratin, and all I could think was "How could I ever get tired of summer squash or tomatoes when I have something like this on my plate?" It's like summer in a dish. All the best parts, slowly and gloriously baked together.
If the thought of gratins makes you think of heavy cream and cheese, wait just a second; this one is different, I swear. This is the kind of gratin you can eat while wearing a bikini at the same time. While most gratins are rich and indulgent, this summery version keeps its focus firmly on fresh veggies and herbs. Even with the Parmesan and crispy bread crumbs, you've still got a light side dish that works with any meal.
- Kelli, July 2015
Tomato and Squash Gratin
5 to 6 medium yellow squash, thinly sliced lengthwise
3 to 4 large tomatoes, thinly sliced
1/3 to 1/2 cup olive oil
15 to 20 whole basil leaves
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup bread crumbs
Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Place one layer of sliced squash in the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish. Top with a layer of sliced tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper and a few basil leaves. Generously drizzle olive oil over everything and sprinkle a little Parmesan cheese on top. Repeat in the same order until you run out of vegetables. The top layer should be tomatoes.
Add a final toss of Parmesan and a generous coating of breadcrumbs and more olive oil. Bake until everything is soft, bubbly and brown on top (about 30 to 40 minutes). Serve as a side dish with whatever you’re grilling or with a bean salad or pasta dish for a complete meal.
- You can substitute zucchini for the squash, or use a combination of the two.
This recipe has been updated — first published September 2006.