Did you know the United States is the biggest importer of summer squash? I didn’t! Until last week when another shopper at the farmers market told me. I thought they must of been misinformed but as I researched, I realized most of our squash does come from Mexico. Like the VAST majority comes from Mexico. We do grow a small percentage locally; Florida, New York and California producing the most.
Summer squash comes in a variety of shades of yellow, green and even white. I love working with pattypan and sunburst squash like the ones used in this recipe. I can only get my hands on them in the summer so I look forward to them every year. They are made of up of mostly water(95%), are low in calories and are good sources of vitamin A & C.
Another way I like to enjoy summer squash is grilled with eggplant and peppers. I serve the grilled veggies family style and drizzle them with roasted garlic extra virgin olive oil. It reminds me of happy days in Europe with my fiancé, visiting with his family and falling in love with the Mediterranean style grilled vegetables. I think I ordered them as a side for lunch and dinner every night; not even kidding.
Anyway, back to this bomb diggity summer squash gratin. The original recipe calls for zucchini but I decided to sub for seasonal summer squash. I was really happy with the way things turned out. A couple things about this recipe, I wanted to share with you..
-Salt your squash! Summer squash is made up of 95% water and its all going to come out when cooked. To avoid a runny gratin place the slices of squash in a colander lined with a clean kitchen towel. Liberally sprinkle kosher salt over the squash and let it sit for 15 minutes to draw out the moisture. Depending on the amount of liquid either pat dry using a towel or apply pressure to strain using the colander.
-In my opinion the nutmeg sets this dish OFF! It’s a must have in this dish for sure so don’t skip it.
-I know it seems like a lot of onions but they will soften as they cook down. Trust me, it will work.
-The gruyère in this recipe is on point but feel free to sub fontina or whatever you have in the fridge.
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, plus extra for topping
- 1 pound yellow onions, cut in ½ and sliced (3 large)
- 2 pounds summer squash or zucchini, sliced ¼-inch thick (4 zucchini)
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup hot milk
- ¾ cup fresh bread crumbs
- ¾ cup grated Gruyere
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Melt the butter in a very large (12-inch) sauté pan and cook the onions over low heat for 20 minutes, or until tender but not browned.
- Add the zucchini and cook, covered, for 10 minutes, or until tender.
- Add the salt, pepper, and nutmeg and cook uncovered for 5 more minutes.
- Stir in the flour. Add the hot milk and cook over low heat for a few minutes, until it makes a sauce. Pour the mixture into an 8 by 10-inch baking dish.
- Combine the bread crumbs and Gruyere and sprinkle on top of the zucchini mixture.
- Dot with 1 tablespoon of butter cut into small bits and bake for 20 minutes, or until bubbly and browned.