Zucchini Potato Gratin

Zucchini Potato Gratin
What are gonna do if you've planted even one zucchini plant, and it just keeps producing one zucchini after another, faster than you can keep up, and faster than you can give it away?  You may have made zucchini bread or cake and zucchini soup and grilled zucchini, and are running out of ideas.

But then even more seriously, what are you gonna do if you have a head full of zucchini recipe ideas and no zucchini in sight?  The second feels like a far worse predicament this year, I have to say - since my zucchini plants produced…absolutely nothing.  I was away for the hottest weeks of Finland's summer, and my poor plants dried out from neglect.  I received a few zucchini's by someone trying to get rid of some of their excess, and happily started cooking.  No worries - there is always another great way to utilize this raw ingredient in my house.  Anyone looking to unload a few?  ;)

If you happen to have access to potatoes as well, here's a dish that can be served as a main course or side dish and will have you coming back for seconds.  The creamy béchamel sauce can be made with any kind of milk from non-fat to whole milk; or oat milk as a non-dairy alternative, and really ties the whole dish together well.

Dig in while the Zucchini Potato Gratin is still warm.
Zucchini Potato Gratin

1 medium zucchini
6 new/small potatoes
1 onion, peeled and diced
4 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
2 tablespoons fresh oregano, minced, or 2 teaspoons dried
1 teaspoon + 1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder or 2 garlic cloves, minced fine
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons whole wheat flour
3 cups milk
1 cup grated white, mild cheese (Emmental, Gouda or Mozzarella all work well here)

Heat the oven to 175°C / 350°F.

Using a box grater or mandolin, slice the zucchini into very thin rounds.  Toss with one teaspoon of salt and place into a colander over a bowl.  Allow to sit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Using a box grater or mandolin, slice the potatoes into very thin rounds.  Place into a small bowl and cover with cold water to prevent browning.  Prep the onion, parsley, and oregano and mix them together in a small bowl.

Squeeze the zucchini over the colander to release as much water a possible, making sure to collect the zucchini water in a bowl.

To make a béchamel: in a small saucepan, melt the butter and whisk in the flour until blended.  Add the zucchini water and whisk until smooth.  Add all of the milk, whisk until smooth, and bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat.  Once the mixture is thickened and just begins to bubble, remove from heat.  Whisk in the salt and pepper, and garlic or garlic powder.


Butter the bottom and sides of a 2 quart, oven-safe casserole dish; any shape will do.  Layer potatoes across the bottom, Sprinkle with 1/3 of the onion mixture and 1/3 of the cheese.  Layer half of the zucchini rounds over the top and ladle 1/3 of the béchamel over the top.  Repeat to layer potatoes, then onion mix, then cheese, then zucchini, then béchamel, then potatoes, onions, béchamel, ending with the last 1/3 of the cheese.

Place the mixture in the oven and make for 45 minutes until the potatoes are tender when poked with a fork and the top is golden brown.

Serves 4 as a main dish.

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