All Photos Friday: Gratin Edition

September 12, 2008

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.

Summer-Squash Gratin
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)
Cooking spray
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.

Preheat broiler.

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.


15 Responses to “All Photos Friday: Gratin Edition”

  1. Amanda Says:

    Gratins are so gratuitous… Sorry, I just had to say that 🙂 Normally, the amount of butter and cheese turns me off from gratins, but that doesn’t seem to be the problem here.

  2. Lindsay Says:

    This looks amazing!

  3. mari Says:

    Panko crumbs on top are a fabulous idea!

  4. patty Says:

    I’ll trade you my idle mandolin for one of your serving platters 😉

  5. holler Says:

    I enjoyed those photos and salivated over the end dish!

    Have a fun time doing bridesmaidy things 🙂

  6. Monica h Says:

    my mouth is watering!

  7. Chez US Says:

    Very nice site. I love your photos and this gratin recipe gave me an idea for a side with dinner tonight. Thank you!

  8. Chuck Says:

    Yummy, stunning and delicious looking. I have to try this recipe!

  9. bakingforthecure Says:

    Such a simple dish, yet such great pictures! really nice.

  10. Melissa Says:

    Oh Kristin that is just wonderful. What a great use of the late seasonal vegetables. And to have it be a bit healthier to boot? Just beautiful!

  11. Amanda: This is the gratin for you, my friend!

    Lindsay: Thanks!

    mari: Thank you! And whole wheat, too!

    patty: As I told you this weekend, I am strongly considering the trade you’ve proposed. Will get back to you soon. : )

    holler: Thanks! (And, I did.)

    Monica h: I suppose that’s the aim of All Photos Friday, now that you mention it. : )

    Chez US: Thank you!

    Chuck: Thanks! I hope you give it a try.

    bakingforthecure: Thanks!

    Melissa: Thank you!

  12. Gorgeous pictures. Make my mouth water at 11pm at night, will you? 😉 I love the bread crumbs on top.

  13. js: Thanks! At 11 pm I usually salivate over desserts, but—honestly—I’d take this gratin any day, no matter the hour. : )

  14. yoony Says:

    hi there! whoa this dish totally caught my attention. it looks amazing! the first photo is making me very hungry. i can’t believe it’s from cooking light.

  15. yoony: You wouldn’t believe it from the taste either!

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