Guess what?!? It’s time for another All Photos Friday! Sorry, folks, no upside-down cakes, quality control or vacation photos here today. Just a series of step-by-step photos of the creation of a summer squash gratin (which is, by the way, a perfectly delicious way to savor late summer produce in a heartier, fall-ready format). I’d write more, but my friend Brynn (yes, that Brynn!) is getting married this weekend and I’ve got very important bridesmaid (oh gosh, I just realized I am a bridesmatron; I do not know how I feel about this) duties (for instance: manicure + pedicure). So, until Monday, enjoy this installment of All Photos Friday, which could just as easily be called Knife Skills Friday. Or Someone Buy This Woman a Mandoline Friday. You can click through on the photos to Flickr for captions, but the photos are pretty self-explanatory.
(Click “more” for the photos and the recipe.)
Okay, well looking at all those photos has me savoring this dish all over again, convincing me that maybe I do have time to say just a couple words after all. For starters, I firmly believe that gratins and all things baked-and-cheesy need not be Death in a Ceramic Dish, in nutritional terms (but sometimes, I can’t resist). In fact, I actually really like a less decadent bechamel (proof). So I had high hopes for this Cooking Light recipe and it didn’t disappoint. It tasted velvety and soothing and rich and also looked very pretty, with stripes of pink, green and yellow vegetable skins popping out amid the creaminess. The onions add a nice zip, the basil keeps it bright and the panko imparts a satisfying crunch. Delicious.
Adapted from Cooking Light
1 3/4 pounds Yukon gold or red potato (about 9 small potatoes)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups skim or 1% low-fat milk (I used skim)
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground nutmeg
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup (4 ounces) grated Gruyere or Swiss cheese (I used Emmentaler Swiss)
1 cup thinly sliced onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano or basil (I used basil)
2 cups thinly sliced zucchini (about 1 pound, or 2 medium)
2 cups thinly sliced yellow squash (about 1 pound, or 2 medium)
1/2 cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 375°.
Pierce potatoes with a fork; arrange in a circle on on a plate; cover with wax paper. Microwave at high 5 minutes or until crisp-tender; cool. Thinly slice potatoes (about 1/8-inch thick).
Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour and broth in a medium saucepan; stir with a whisk. Stir in milk and next 5 ingredients (milk through garlic). Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, and cook until thick (about 10 minutes), stirring constantly with a whisk. Remove from heat; add cheese, stirring until cheese melts.
Arrange half of potato slices in the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch (or other large) baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top with half of the onion, oregano/basil, zucchini, yellow squash, and cheese sauce. Repeat procedure with remaining potato, onion, oregano/basil, zucchini, squash, and cheese sauce.
Bake at 375° for 1 hour or until gratin is tender. Combine breadcrumbs and oil in a small bowl; toss well. Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture over gratin.
Broil gratin 30 seconds or until breadcrumbs are lightly browned. Let stand 10 minutes.
Make ahead: Can be made up to one day in advance. Complete the recipe through the baking step (do not broil) and allow the gratin to cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Before serving, take the gratin out of the fridge and let it return to room temperature. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes at 375, or until warmed through. Broil according to the recipe.