All through the long and glorious summer the garden rewarded us with fresh, fresh vegetables. I walk from the kitchen across the long stretch of grass and into the garden. It is another world of vegetables going quietly about their business of growing. Italian basil, Thai basil and parsley encircle the garden. No matter where I am in the garden I brush against these fragrant herbs as I harvest vegetables. My basket is filled with prickly zucchini and brilliant coloured rainbow Swiss chard. They will be the starring ingredients of the most delicious, refined and positively addictive vegetable gratin.
Zucchini and Swiss chard gratin takes the ubiquitous zucchini and the humble Swiss chard to new heights. Generously seasoned with onion, paprika and garlic. Enriched with Parmesan cheese, eggs and tart sour cream . Topped with buttery bread crumbs and fresh parsley this gratin is paradise in a dish. It was such a hit this summer that I made it over and over again. Served as the main course or as a side dish with roast chicken or pork it is summer perfection on a plate all year long.
The very best of summer – ZUCCHINI AND SWISS CHARD GRATIN.
|ZUCCHINI AND SWISS CHARD GRATIN|| |
- About 2 pounds (900 g) zucchini
- 1 tbs. coarse sea salt for the zucchini
- ½ tsp fine sea salt for the mixture
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tbs. (50 ml) olive oil
- 1 large onion finely chopped (a very generous cup)
- 2 fat garlic cloves minced (about 2 tbs)
- Leaves from about 1 pound(450g) Swiss chard, parboiled, squeezed dry and chopped
- 2 oz (60g) coarsely grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 large eggs lightly beaten
- A generous ½ cup (125 mL) sour cream
- 1 tsp (2 mL) smoked paprika
- ½ cup (40 g) dry bread crumbs
- A generous handful of coarsely chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tbsp (30 mL) butter melted.
- Shred the zucchini on the large holes of a box grater. Sprinkle with salt and allow to drain in a colander for about 30 minutes or more. Rinse in cold water and squeeze dry in a clean tea towel. It is important to squeeze every bit of moisture from the zucchini.
- Set aside in a bowl.
- Heat oven to 350F (180C).
- Smear an 8 cup (2L) baking dish with olive oil.
- Sprinkle the onions with a little salt (to draw out the moisture) and saute in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil until soft.
- Add the garlic and cook about one minute.
- In a large bowl add the zucchini, onion and garlic and mix well.
- Add the chard leaves and two-thirds of the Parmesan.
- Stir through the eggs, sour cream and paprika.
- Add the ½ teaspoon fine sea salt and the ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper. . IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT TO BE GENEROUS WITH YOUR SEASONING AS ZUCCHINI IS A VERY BLAND VEGETABLE! Taste your mixture BEFORE you pop it in the oven if you are in doubt.
- Spoon into the gratin dish,
- Mix the remaining one-third of the Parmesan with the bread crumbs and parsley and scatter over the gratin.
- Drizzle with the melted butter.
- Bake 40 minutes or until very hot and top crisp and golden.
- Serve hot.