This is an easy, rustic recipe that makes a great vegetarian meal or a pretty side dish for summer or autumn. It's so simple: yellow squash layered in a jumble with sliced red potato and goat cheese. No cream needed at all.
For this gratin, I didn't bother layering the vegetables in a pretty scalloped pattern. I practically threw the potato and squash slices in the pan, all mixed up together. Tastes the same, right?
The only complicated part is slicing the vegetables paper-thin. I love my mandoline for this (they're not expensive, and we highly recommend one for so many dishes), but if you don't have one, you'll just need a bit more time and a very sharp knife.
There's not a ton of cheese and no cream (just a splash of milk to keep it tender), so the fresh taste of the vegetables is front and center. We sprinkled our gratin with basil at the end for a little color. It was a near-perfect dinner — and the leftovers tasted great.
This classic and simple recipe from Elizabeth has always received rave reviews from our readers and commenters, and I finally had a chance to try it last week. I was shocked by how quickly it came together. I sliced up the squash and potatoes on my mandoline, just as Elizabeth advises, and jumbled them higgledy-piggledy in a casserole dish. When baked, they were tender and soft, but they still tasted vibrant and fresh — unlike vegetables in gratins that are swimming in cheese and cream. This was a keeper. I can hardly wait to make it again.
- Faith, September 2012
Potato, Squash & Goat Cheese Gratin
medium yellow summer squash (about 8 ounces total)
small to medium red potatoes (about 1 pound total)
olive oil, plus more for the baking dish
fresh goat cheese, divided
Freshly ground black pepper
freshly grated Parmesan cheese
thinly sliced basil or thyme leaves (optional)
Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 400°F. Lightly grease a 1 1/2- to 2-quart baking dish with a drizzle of olive oil.
Use a mandoline or chef's knife to slice the squash and potatoes into very, very thin slices, 1/8-inch thick or less. Place the sliced vegetables and olive oil in a large bowl and toss to combine.
Place 1/3 of the squash and potato slices in and even layer in the bottom of the baking dish — no need to layer them squash-potato-squash; just spread them evenly — then season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with 1/2 of the goat cheese in large chunks. Repeat with another 1/3 of the vegetables, seasoning again with salt and pepper and topping with the remaining goat cheese. Finish by layering on the remaining vegetables and seasoning with salt and pepper.
Pour the milk evenly over the entire dish. Sprinkle with the Parmesan. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until the top browns, about 15 minutes more. Sprinkle with the fresh basil or thyme, if using.
Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.