Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Provençal Tomato and Squash Gratin

As our home garden is being inundated with tomatoes and summer squash right about now (hey, I ain't complaining!) I have to find recipes in which to use them. This recipe comes from one I found in the NY Times just last week and was the perfect vegetarian antidote to the meat-heavy BBQ family feast the night before. The recipe here is my take on the Times' version.

This recipe uses cooked farro. You can prepare it by using 1 cup farro to 3 cups of salted water. Bring to a boil then let simmer for about 20 minutes. If it's still watery you can drain it before using but I find that it usually absorbs all of the cooking water by the time it's cooked.

Several fresh medium tomatoes from the garden or farmer's market
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 small red onion minced
1 large or 2 medium summer squashes cut into 1/2 inch dice
Fresh cracked black pepper
leaves from several twigs fresh thyme, chopped
1 cup cooked farro (rice or barley can substitute)
3 eggs
2 ounces high quality Gruyere cheese, grated (1/2 cup)
several hand torn fresh basil leaves

Peel half of the tomatoes and chop well. Slice the remainder and set aside. Preheat the oven to 375F. Oil a 2-quart gratin or baking dish

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a Dutch oven or large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the smashed garlic and cook until aromatic and translucent, about 1-2 minutes. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until it is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the diced squash. Cook, stirring often, until the squash is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and the thyme, season with salt and pepper, raise the heat slightly and cook, stirring often, until the tomatoes have cooked down and smell fragrant, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the prepared farro and remove from the heat.

Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Stir in the cooked vegetables, salt and pepper to taste, and the cheese and combine well. Scrape into the gratin dish.

Slice the remaining tomatoes and cover the top of the gratin in one layer. Drizzle on the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Bake 45 minutes, or until the top is browned and the gratin is sizzling. Remove from the heat and allow to sit for at least 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle the torn basil over the top. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature. This should serve 4-6 people and is also fantastic as leftovers.

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