‘In Mexico, courgette flowers sell for pennies, and the vegetables are cooked in every way imaginable. Further north, in California, there is a similar passion for partnering them with almost anything. This gratin is great as a side dish to serve with a steak or some good-quality sausages, but it’s also wonderful served on its own as a supper dish. It makes a great starter, and is delicious tossed through pasta-a perfect way to use up some of your summer glut’
Courgette gratin with salsa verde and Gruyère
Extract from Suzanne Goin’s Sunday Suppers at Lucques Published by Alfred A. Knopf
2lb (900g) summer squash [courgettes]
1½ cups (150g) fresh breadcrumbs
3tbsp unsalted butter
¾ cup (75g) sliced shallots
1tsp minced garlic
1tbsp thyme leaves
½ cup (120g) salsa verde (see below)
1 cup (110g) grated Gruyère cheese
Kosher salt (sea salt) and freshly
ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 200˚C/400˚F/gas 6. Cut the squash into 1/8in-thick (3mm-thick) slices. If you’re using long zucchini [courgette]-type summer squash, slice them on the diagonal. Toss the slices in a large bowl with one teaspoon of salt, and let sit for 10 minutes. Place the breadcrumbs in a bowl. Heat a small sauté pan over medium heat for one minute. Swirl in the butter and cook
for a few minutes, until it browns and smells nutty.
Pour the brown butter over the breadcrumbs (being sure to scrape all the brown bits into the bowl with a rubber spatula). Wait a minute or so for the butter to cool, and toss well.
Drain the squash and trans-fer it to a large mixing bowl. Add the shallots, minced garlic, thyme, half cup of salsa verde and some pepper.
Toss to combine, and add the cheese and half the buttercoated breadcrumbs. Toss again, and taste for seasoning. (The raw garlic will taste strong at this point, but will be delicious when cooked.)
Place the squash in a 9in by 9in (or equivalent) gratin dish. Scatter over the remaining breadcrumbs, and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the squash is tender and the top is crisp.
1tsp marjoram or oregano leaves
¼ cup (4tbsp) coarsely chopped mint
1 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
¾ cup (180ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1 small clove garlic
1 salt-packed anchovy, rinsed, bones removed
1tbsp salt-packed capers, rinsed and drained
½ lemon, for juicing
Freshly ground black pepper
Using a mortar and pestle, pound the herbs to a paste. You may have to do this in batches. Work in some of the olive oil, and transfer the mixture to a bowl. Pound the garlic and anchovy, and add them to the herbs. Gently pound the capers until they’re partially crushed, and add them to the herbs. Stir in the remaining oil, a pinch of black pepper, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Taste for balance and seasoning.
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