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


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
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 12
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
  • 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
  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.
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.

Pi(e) Day: Zucchini and Fontina Pie

Slice of Zucchini PieToday is a very special holiday for all my fellow nerds of the world. It’s Pi day! As in 3.14…But if you are a fellow nerd, you already knew that.  Of course, it is ever so appropriate that on Pi day, the tradition is to bake a pie. Let it be known that I am 100% ok with this tradition. In fact, in some parts of the country, they even have full on pie baking competitions to commemorate Pi day. As luck would have it, I happen to have an award-winning pie baker in my very own family!

At this point, I’ve lost count of how many years in a row my super-talented sister-in-law, Kathy, has won awards at the annual Pi Day competition at Qualcomm, where Brian, my brother-in-law and her husband, works. She is quite skilled at pie decorations, and a couple years ago, she won with a “Q”aramel Apple Nut Pie, that was decorated with a cinnamon-striped serpent coiled on top, complete with a pie-dough tongue slithering out. She didn’t miss a single detail, with the snakeskin design and beady eyes. It was pretty impressive, and even kept its shape after baking. But if Kathy’s decorations are good, her pie flavors are even better. Let’s put it this way… I’m not a huge fan of cherry pie, but I like the cherry pie that she makes. And don’t get me started on her apple pie, with its perfectly flakey crust bursting with rich, fall, flavors.

To make a long story short… when it comes to pie, Kathy takes the cake. That’s why, this year for Pi Day, I decided to go in a different direction. Instead of trying my hand at a more traditional pie, I thought I’d give a savory pie a whirl.

Zucchini and Fontina Pie
Zucchini and Fontina Pie in all its glory.

My zucchini and fontina pie was inspired by taking a gander at what I had in the fridge, and throwing it all into a pie crust. It turned out very similar to a quiche, but with the way the silky ricotta dances with the melted fontina cheese in the filling layer, this pie resembles more of a savory cheesecake than a baked omelette. And while I’m not skilled enough to turn my zucchini slices into a snake, I tried my best to coil them around the top in a decorative layer.

Great for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, with this dish, we can celebrate Pi Day all day long!

Zucchini and Fontina Pie
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 6-8
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Celebrate Pi day (March 14th) with this savory pie.
  • 1 prepackaged pie crust, uncooked
  • 1 15 oz container part-skim ricotta
  • 8 oz fontina cheese, grated
  • ½ cup of grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 Tbs. milk
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh basil
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 2 cups thinly sliced zucchini
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Roll out the pie dough, and press it into a greased pie pan.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine ricotta cheese, ½ of the fontina cheese, the parmesan cheese, eggs, milk, oregano, basil, and garlic. Add a pinch of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir to combine.
  4. Pour the mixture into the pie crust, and use a spatula to even out the top.
  5. Gently place the zucchini slices on top, creating whatever design you'd like.
  6. Sprinkle remaining fontina cheese on top of zucchini.
  7. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until cheese is golden brown, and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.


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