I suppose this should be called a zucchini tomato basil au gratin, sans gluten-cootie bread-crumbs. The photo above is the uncooked version. I have a problem with making people (me included) wait to eat until I fuss with taking a photo, so I prefer taking “before” photos of my food. I’m not the best “after” photographer, anyway. It’s hard to mess up a shot of beautiful, organic apples, but easy to end up with a slimy rendition of applesauce. Know what I mean?
This is an slight adaptation of a recipe I picked up from Vegetarian Times Magazine and I love it. It’s a bit of a pain, but well worth it. The prep work prevents the juicy veggies from releasing too much moisture. Soggy is not good, firm and hearty is. We’re also into zucchini season around here, so this has been on the menu recently. It’s great with grilled fish. Absolutely divine!
gluten-free zucchini tomato basil bake
what you need
4-6 tomatoes, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
3-4 medium-sized zucchinis, cut into 1/4 inch thick, long slices
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced (more if you’re a garlic fan)
4 tablespoons roughly chopped kalamata olives
1/4 cup thinly sliced basil leaves
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
freshly ground pepper
what you do
1. Drape sliced tomatoes over a colander, sprinkle with salt and let drain 45 minutes.
2. Place prepared zucchini slices on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and let stand for 45 minutes. This sweats out the excess moisture. Rinse and pat dry.
3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat a small amount of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté zucchini for a few minutes until golden brown. Transfer to a plate. You’ll have to do this in batches and add a touch more oil as you go.
4. Layer half the zucchini slices in a lightly oiled baking dish. Top with half the tomatoes, then half the garlic, olives, basil and cheese. Season with freshly ground black pepper. Repeat the process with the remaining zucchini, tomatoes, garlic, olives and basil. Drizzle with a small amount of olive oil (maybe 1-2 teaspoons) and top with the rest of the cheese.
5. Cover with foil and bake 10 to 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 20 to 25 minutes, or until cheese is melted, golden brown and the dish is bubbling. Let stand for 5 minutes and serve.
* My son took spoonfuls of this and spread it over big slices of crusty Italian bread. He said it was amazing (not that I would know). I’m going to try a version of this as gluten-free pizza. Doesn’t that sound good?
Peace, love and veggie au gratin!