This is a classic Provençal gratin, one of my favorite dishes from the region. It's bound with rice and egg, it's great cold or hot, and if you have more summer squash than you know what to do with, look no further.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 to 3 large garlic cloves, to taste, minced
- 2 pounds zucchini or other summer squash, cut in 1/4- to 1/2-inch dice
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, or 1 teaspoon crumbled dried thyme
- 1/2 cup Arborio rice, cooked
- 2 eggs
- 3 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated (3/4 cup)
- 1/4 cup breadcrumbs (fresh or dry)
1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Oil a 2-quart gratin dish.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large, heavy nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, stir together for about 30 seconds, until it begins to smell fragrant, and stir in the squash. Cook, stirring often, until the squash is translucent but not mushy, 5 to 10 minutes. Season generously with salt and pepper. Stir in the thyme and rice, and remove from the heat.
3. Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Beat in 1/2 teaspoon salt and the cheese. Stir in the zucchini mixture and combine well. Scrape into the gratin dish. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the top. Drizzle on the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Bake 40 to 45 minutes, or until the top is browned and the gratin is sizzling. Remove from the heat and allow to sit for at least 10 minutes before serving. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.