I’ve got friends in high places where the cognac drowns and the wine chases my blues away…
If I re-wrote Garth Brooks’ little diddy, that’s how the song would go. See, I’ve got these friends. They’re lovely. They’re classy. They’re superb cooks. And they’ve got a place in France where guests go to absorb the beauty of the country and take part in cooking lessons whereby they shop at the local markets, prepare meals together and then enjoy the bounty of their efforts in the garden, sipping wine which has been specifically paired for the meal. Sounds like heaven huh? Yeah, I agree.
Well, Katie makes a lovely summer squash gratin that manages to grace the table when the season is ripe for zucchini, crook-neck, patty pan, and all manner of summer squashes. It’s simple as can be, and absolutely delicious down to the last creamy, cheesy, nutmeg-infused bite.
So last week, after finding myself to have been a leeeeeetle overzealous buying summer squash at the Farmer’s Market, I begged for her recipe and she happily obliged. I added corn to my gratin in an effort to use up another surplus from my overzealous market trip, and threw a few torn basil leaves in there too.
So this is my take on Katie’s specialty…
Katie’s super-dee, duper-dee lovely summer squash gratin (with corn and basil)
This recipe is adaptable to any size dish, from individual ramekins, to a huge gratin-dish. Plan to layer the squash (and corn, if you’re using it) a couple inches deep. So here, I’ll provide you with a method and leave the quantities up to you!
If you’re preparing one large dish, Katie recommends baking the gratin at 325º. For the individual ramekins like I made, bake at 350º. Also, this gratin is simply divine made with just squash– so don’t feel the need to add the corn and basil if you don’t have them on hand. Also, Katie adds a sprinkling of Emmenthaler cheese to the top.
- a variety of summer squash, washed and stems removed
- heavy cream
- finely grated Parmesan cheese
- freshly ground nutmeg
- corn, scraped from the cobb
- unsalted butter
- torn basil
- kosher salt
Slice the squash about 1/8-inch thick using a mandolin. Layer the squash in a large bowl, lightly salting each layer as you go. Allow the salted squash to sit for 30-60 minutes so that it releases it’s liquid.
Preheat the oven to the desired temperature (see note).
Gently cook the corn in butter, salting to taste. Allow to cool.
Pour off the excess squash liquid, giving the squash a gentle push and squeeze to help extract any liquid that remains.
Begin by placing a layer or two of squash in the bottom of the dish. Then layer in some corn. Scatter in some torn basil. Pour in a little cream, but don’t submerge the vegetables. Sprinkle in some Parmesan. Lightly dust with nutmeg (a little goes a long way). Be sure to keep the layers densely packed, all the way to the edges of the dish. Keep layering in this manner until all the vegetables are used up. Then pour in a little more cream so that it almost reaches the top of the vegetables. Lightly press down on the top of the vegetables to help douse them in the cream. Sprinkle another healthy dose of Parmesan and Ementhaler (if using) over the top.
Place the gratin dish (or dishes) into the preheated oven, and bake until the cream bubbles around the edges, and the top is golden-brown. Allow to cool slightly before serving- it’s gonna be hot!