Zucchini and Eggplant Gratin: Or how to get your family to eat their vegetables.

gratin

By now, those of you who know me have heard me talk ad nauseam about how lucky I was to grow up with freshly grown vegetables at arms length. Being able to eat extremely fresh produce certainly made a difference in flavor, but my love for vegetable recipes was certainly influenced by my mother’s kitchen skills and her ability to prepare these vegetables to best tickle my taste buds. I recognize that not everyone is fortunate enough to have my mom preparing their vegetables, and that perhaps this is why they get such a bad rap. For those people I offer a little secret. Just a little something to solve the riddle of dreary, steamed, mushy vegetables. In a word… CHEESE!

Gratin2For many families, cheese is the perfect vehicle to introduce even the most offensive vegetable. In this recipe, ribbons of green zucchini and aubergine eggplant are coated with not one, but three types of cheese, in order to add depth of flavor. Mozzarella and parmesan are traditional favorites, but when paired with fontina cheese, whose characteristics boast a nice sharp flavor and high melted gooiness factor, the three make a winning combination.

Click here to check out my post at PJLibrary.org.

Zucchini and Eggplant Gratin
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 12
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
 
Ingredients
  • 3 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise into ¼ inch slices
  • 2 Japanese eggplant, cut lengthwise into ¼ inch slices.
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup of heavy cream, divided
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella, divided
  • 1 cup grated fontina, divided
  • ½ cup grated parmesan, divided
  • 3 sheets of Yehuda matzo, crumbled
  • 2 Tbs. Italian seasoning, divided
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Spray a 9 by 13 inch baking dish with kosher for Passover nonstick spray (Or grease with butter or oil).
  3. Place the first layer of zucchini and eggplant in the bottom of the dish, and sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper.
  4. Pour ⅓ of the heavy cream on the zucchini. Sprinkle ⅓ each of the mozzarella, fontina, and parmesan cheeses. Add ⅓ of the matzo crumbs, and ⅓ of Italian seasoning.
  5. Repeat the layering (steps 3 and 4) two more times, ending with the matzo crumbs and Italian seasoning on top.
  6. Drizzle the olive oil over the dish, and place in oven.
  7. Bake uncovered for 40-50 minutes, or until the dish is bubbling and the top is brown.
  8. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
Notes
Be careful of spillage while baking. You may want to place a tray underneath to catch any leaking cheese.

*Note: I am working in conjunction with PJ Library on several recipes featuring Yehuda Matzos. Although I am being compensated for my recipes, my opinions expressed regarding Yehuda Matzo are honest and entirely my own.

Variation on a theme: Savory Manchego and Quince Turnovers

Manchego and Quince Turnover . TheCubanReuben.comOne puff pastry recipe was clearly not enough for me! During the recent culinary adventure with my friend and editor, Shannon, where we made sweet and decadent Guava and Cheese Pastries, we couldn’t help but think of all the different ways we could use puff pastry dough in other recipes. Sure, there are the classic breakfast danishes, syrupy apple turnovers, and other strudels of the like, but we were looking for something more savory to pair with the sweet treats we know and love.

TurnoversReadyToBake.TheCubanreuben.com

Manchego and Quince Turnovers dressed and ready for a spin in the oven.

Enter my homage to the Spanish motherland: Savory Manchego and Quince Turnovers. These little babies have just a hint of sweetness from the quince paste, but the star flavors are decidedly savory. With toasted Marcona almonds adorning the tops and nutty Manchego cheese melted in the middle, these make the perfect nosh morning, noon, or night.

Turnovers.TheCubanReuben.com

Fresh out the oven, these turnovers seem almost too good to eat. Almost…

To read more about these turnovers, and to find the recipe, be sure to check out my post for The Nosher on MyJewishLearning.com.