a gratin fit for summer, loaded with zucchini, squash, and roma tomatoes fragrant with fresh basil, garlic and olive oil
Zucchini, squash, and tomatoes, all used in this recipe, are both vegetables predominantly grown and produced during the summertime. As weather changes throughout the world, so does the produce that is able to grow. There are certain times of the year that only certain types of fruits and vegetables are able to grow. This is called seasonal produce. Seasonal produce does have its benefits. Since seasonal produce is grown, picked and sold all in the same location they tend to be cheaper than produce that has to be transported and stored at adequate temperatures for lengths of time. Seasonal vegetables also tend to be fresher with higher nutritional value. Certain antioxidants like vitamin C, folate and carotenes tend to rapidly decrease when stored for periods of time, such as in the transportation process. Eating seasonally is also more environmentally friendly, using less transportation and refrigeration, as well as is supportive of local farmers. Though it may not always be possible to eat seasonally and locally all the time, it’s important for us to make the best decision for ourselves and our planet whenever we can.
Summer Medley Gratin
⅓ cup parmesan cheese
¼ cup unsalted breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
2 medium-sized zucchini, cut into ¼-inch medallions
2 medium-sized yellow squash, cut into ¼-inch medallions
4 roma tomatoes, cut into ¼-inch medallions
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 yellow onion, diced
1 small red bell pepper, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced and divided
Salt to taste
Cracked black pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Place the zucchini, squash, tomatoes in a large bowl adding 2 tablespoons of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, 1 minced garlic, salt and pepper to taste. Mix together well.
- In a pan on medium-high heat, add remaining olive oil. Add in remaining minced garlic and cook for about a minute until fragrant. Add onions and bell pepper. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the garlic and onions slightly brown.
- Transfer the onion and bell pepper mixture to the baking dish in a single even layer. Carefully line the zucchini, squash, and tomatoes on their ¼ inch sides, going down the length of the tray, alternating the vegetables as you go. Repeat until full baking dish is lined with vegetables.
- When finished add the breadcrumbs to the top of the vegetables. Drizzle with olive oil and a bit more balsamic vinegar if desired. Sprinkle half you basil and/or parsley mixture. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.
- Cover with aluminum foil and bake for about 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 15-20 minutes or until the toppings are browned. Remove when done.
- Garnish with remaining fresh basil and/or parsley. Serve alongside a fresh baguette to mop up any goodness at the bottom, and enjoy!
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