Gratin de courgettes

gratin-courgettes3Zucchini infused with thyme, garlic and nutmeg and topped with a crust of bubbling cheese — it sounds as good as it tastes. But the best thing about this dish is how easy it is to make. In the time it takes to heat up the oven, you can steam the zucchini, grate the cheese, combine the cream and seasonings, and presto — it’s ready to bake. You may need to double or triple the recipe, because it will have your happy diners clamoring for seconds.

Gratin de courgettes / Zucchini gratin

The gratin is a staple of French cuisine but every chef has a different way of preparing it. Which means you can use your imagination to create variants of this dish — experimenting with different cheeses, for example, or combining the zucchini with another vegetable.

A word on cheese. My friend Ann Mah, an elegant writer on food and travel, has a new feature on her web site every Tuesday in which she invites another food blogger to share his or her midweek cooking secrets, most recently David Lebovitz. Through this feature I discovered Chez Loulou, a site that includes a terrific guide to French cheese. France reputedly counts a cheese for every day of the week — as De Gaulle famously said, ‘How can you govern a country that has 365 cheeses?’ In fact there are many more French cheeses than that, making a guide both interesting and useful.

The gratin may be served as a side dish or as the main dish of a light meal, preceded or followed by a salad. It will marry well with a sturdy red wine.


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4 Responses to Gratin de courgettes

  1. I can’t believe I never saw this… Love Gratin de Courgettes – it is a summer staple in our house (when it isn’t too hot to turn on the oven!)
    Thanks for the mention, Meg!

  2. Jan says:

    Hi, Meg! Last night I made this Gratin using your ingredients but with one substitution. I thought I would let you know this was very delicious using butternut squash. Raves all around!

  3. Meg says:

    Jan, this is fun! I feel like I’m getting to know you even though we have never met. It’s really great to know that you’re enjoying the site. So… nothing is a sin. These recipes are here for you to try as written, or as a basis for innovation. However, since you’re asking, I don’t remember ever seeing chicken in a zucchini gratin over here. But if it’s ‘wicked awesome’, I might just try it. Meantime, a pronunciation guide is a great idea. I’m still working on getting the site up and running, but once things are ticking over I might add that. Cheers!

  4. Jan says:

    I made this for a light Sunday supper yesterday accompanied by a salad as you suggested. I added approximately four ounces of chicken shredded from a rotisserie chicken. (Hope this wasn’t a “sin.” The whole dish tasted awesome). (Since I am from Boston, maybe I should say it tasted “wicked awesome”).

    (Would you ever consider a pronunciation guide for the recipe titles — so I can impress my family?)

    I am REALLY enjoying these recipes. I like their simplicity. Each is easy to prepare; the ingredients are minimal, but the results are spectacular. How do you that! 🙂 The process for me is very relaxing. Each morning I look forward to a new recipe.

    This morning I am making your vegetable broth in advance of your fennel soup.

    Thank you!

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