Sunday, 8 September 2013

Courgette and Tomato Gratin

Years ago, when I visited France, it was a bit of a challenge sticking to a vegetarian diet. If you wanted to eat out you were often limited to cheese and mushroom omelets, which is fine but they can get a bit boring. I remember one time, New Years 2002, I think it was, resorting to picking the bacon bits out of a McDonalds salad as I couldn't find anything else to eat. Most times that I visit France these days I stay with family but this too can cause a flurry of uncertainty and a great deal of teasing about meals. Vegetarians are still a rarity.

Having grown up as a vegetarian, by choice, I developed a slightly different relationship and approach to food. I compose meals differently; there's not always a focus to a meal as there would be in a meat-and-two-veg situation. Therefore when I'm being catered for I am most impressed when I'm given a delicious meal where vegetables, and not meat substitutes, are the star of the show.

On my last voyage I was served up delicious rice and pasta salads as well as this courgette and tomato gratin. It was so tasty and so simple I felt the need to recreate it when I got home and then share it with you. The recipe that is, although if you are ever passing I'm sure I could make one for you... As it's tomato and courgette season I felt this was especially timely. This is easily scaled to accommodate different sized appetites and numbers of mouths.
I should have taken the picture before
serving it up but you get the idea.

Courgette and Tomato Gratin
Serves 2 

1-2 courgettes
6-8 medium sized tomatoes (a mix of red and yellow is pretty)
1 tsp dried herbs OR 1 tbsp fresh herbs (I used fresh marjoram but oregano and basil will work well too)
50g hard cheese, grated (cheddar and/or parmesan work well)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

  1. Lightly oil a oven proof dish and preheat your oven to 180C
  2. Slice the courgettes and tomatoes and build up alternate rows of tomatoes and courgette slices in the dish, overlapping slightly. 
  3. Drizzle with a little olive oil (a chilli or red pepper infused oil would be delicious). Season with salt, pepper and the herbs, then top with the cheese. 
  4. Bake in the over for around 25 minutes until the vegetables are soft and the cheese golden
Serve with salad, some nice bread, or along side a meat dish, depending on how hungry you are. A glass of white wine is also a fine accompaniment.
You can add breadcrumbs to the topping if you like a bit more crunch. 
Get creative with the oils, herbs and cheeses to put your own stamp on this.

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