I had the honor recently of being the guest chef in the demonstration kitchen at FRESH by Brookshire’s in Tyler. It was so much fun, as always, and I loved being able to focus on the produce that is so abundant here in Texas all summer; local produce from local farmers. It’s something we all should work toward.
I love that FRESH tries its best to buy local produce. Do you know why it’s important? There are quite a few reasons to buy local:
* it economically supports families in your area who grow/pick the food
* the produce is picked when ripe, unlike produce that is shipped from far distances.
* the ripe produce contains more nutrients than produce that is picked too early for shipping
* produce that is abundant locally is typically less expensive
The following recipe is great for summer, as we have zucchini by the bushel all summer long, and our wonderful sweet Noonday onions, although other sweet onions, like Vidalias, could be used.
It’s also moderately low in fat, as the only fat added is the healthy fat in the olive oil and whatever there is in the cheese, which isn’t a lot.
Please do yourself a favor and make this as soon as possible!
By the way, if you came out on Sunday to check out what I was cooking and to visit with me at FRESH, THANK YOU!
I’ll be making this recipe on-air on Friday, June 8! Check out KLTV-7 in the Tyler, Texas area Friday morning at about 6:25 a.m. CST for “Cooking Up a Storm” during Good Morning East Texas.
Mama Steph’s Summer Vegetable Gratin
This recipe is easily adapted based on whatever vegetables you have in your kitchen or garden throughout the summer.
You could use yellow crookneck squash instead of (or along with) zucchini, for example, and you could add fresh sliced mushrooms if you’d like, as well. Enjoy being creative in your kitchen!
Extra-virgin olive oil
Sweet onions (such as Noonday or Vidalia onions)
2-3 large zucchini
One pint cherry or grape tomatoes
1 to 2 cups grated Parmesan, Romano pecorino or Grana Padano cheese
1 to 2 cups Panko or regular breadcrumbs (the Italian-seasoned ones would be good, too)
1 leek, thinly sliced
2 cloves of fresh garlic, minced, or 2 tsp. of jarred garlic
Fresh oregano leaves, pulled from stems
Salt and pepper, to taste
In a large skillet (I prefer cast iron here, but use what you have) over medium heat, drizzle three TBS olive oil. Tilt the pan to cover the bottom with the oil.
Layer Noonday or other sweet onion slices in bottom of pan, to cover.
Thinly slice 2-3 zucchini, then form single layer of slices atop the onion slices.
Sprinkle a handful of grated Romano or Grana Padano cheese over all.
Sprinkle a handful or two of bread crumbs over the cheese.
Sprinkle cherry tomatoes all around the pan,
Add the sliced leeks, if desired.
Top with a sprinkling of garlic and oregano leaves.
Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle more cheese, more bread crumbs, and then repeat layers, if desired.
Place skillet in a 425 degree oven until all looks caramelized (tomatoes will burst, etc., when it’s ready)
Garnish with snipped fresh basil leaves, if desired.