GINNA PARSONS: Enjoying the bounty of summer

GINNA PARSONS

GINNA PARSONS

One of the perks of my job is that when I go to interview farmers or home gardeners in the summer, I often come home with a load of fresh vegetables (and sometimes canned goods).

Because we don’t have a lot of sun in our backyard, it’s hard for us to grow vegetables, so we are always appreciative – and make good use – of what we are blessed to be given.

On Sunday, I surveyed our “crop” and determined I needed to make something using both squash and zucchini. I Googled “squash zucchini gratin” and several possibilities popped up. I decided to go with a recipe from Ina Garten, because it also included onions and I still have a bunch left over from the bag I bought from the Civitans.

I modified Ina’s original recipe (which called for zucchini only) quite a bit. She made her white sauce right in the pan, but because squash is more delicate than zucchini, I made my white sauce – Bechamel – on the side and then poured it over the vegetables.

Here’s the only thing I need to tell you about this recipe: My son, Patrick, who is not a squash/zucchini fan, ate every bite of his and declared the dish “really good.”

Zucchini-Squash Gratin

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

2 Vidalia onions, cut in half and sliced

1 pound zucchini, sliced 1⁄4-inch thick

1 pound yellow squash, sliced 1⁄4-inch thick

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1⁄4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup milk

1⁄4 cup Italian-seasoned bread crumbs

1⁄4 cup Panko Japanese bread crumbs

1⁄4 cup grated Parmesan

1⁄4 cup shredded Mozzarella

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a 12-inch skillet and cook the onions over low heat for 20 minutes, or until tender but not browned. Add the zucchini and squash and cook, covered, for 10 minutes, or until tender. Add the salt, pepper and nutmeg and cook uncovered for 5 more minutes. Spoon vegetables into a greased 9×13-inch baking dish.

Meanwhile, melt 2 remaining tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium low heat. Add flour and stir with a whisk for 2 minutes, or until lightly browned. Add milk and stir with a whisk until thick. Pour the sauce over the vegetables. Sprinkle with bread crumbs and cheeses. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, or until bubbly and browned.

Serves 8.

Ginna Parsons is the Daily Journal’s food/home/garden editor.