Let’s keep cooking fun and pretty, not just utilitarian. Pretty prep bowls in black, ochre, olive green, and sky blue handmade by ceramicist Elaine Corn especially for La Vie Rustic are back in stock at lavierustic.com Yay!
It’s fun to surround yourself with these little bowls, with their carefully (or not so carefully) measured ingredients, like cayenne pepper, chopped fresh dill, sea salt, baking powder, mixing and matching the colors to the bowls. You know, just looking at what you’ve artfully composed with your prep work, that the dish you’re cooking is going to be delicious.
And, the bowls can double as salt cellars, spice or herb dishes for your table. Or however else you might be inspired to use them.
Elaine’s Gratin Dishes
These beauties serve, as a good gratin dish should, to be as beautiful on the table as they are functional in the oven. We are on the cusp of summer, so start imagining eggplant and tomato gratins, zucchini gratins, even fruit gratins, coming hot out of your kitchen arriving at center stage on the table. At lavierustic.com
Recette du Jour
Gratin of Baby Gold Zucchini
This gratin puffs up, develops a luscious golden crust and can easily serve as a main course, along with a little salad. This works best with baby zucchini which have little or no seed development and the flesh is firm. Larger zucchini have a higher water content, large seeds and are slightly spongy around the seeds.
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
2 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1/8 teaspoon coarse sea salt
2 ½ pounds young zucchini, ends trimmed, and grated on the large holes of a grater and squeezed very, very dry
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 –inch long piece of baguette, crusts removed
1 cup hot water
3 ounces Gruyere, cut into 1/4 to 1/8 inch pieces
2 large eggs
Preheat an oven to 425 degrees F.
Crush the parsley, basil, garlic, and 1/8 teaspoon coarse sea salt together to form a thick paste using a mortar and pestle. Set aside.
In a frying pan, heat 2 ½ tablespoons of the olive oil over medium high heat. When it is hot, add the zucchini slices sprinkled with a little salt and pepper. Sauté until limp and lightly golden, about 20 minutes.
Soak the bread in the water and squeeze very dry. Tear the squeezed bread into small pieces and put them in a bowl with the cheese, the parsley mixture, the egg, and a little salt and pepper. Beat with a fork to make a fluffy mixture. Add the zucchini and toss. Lightly oil a gratin dish and spread the mixture evenly into it. Sprinkle the surface with a little olive oil and bake until puffed and golden, about 1/2 hour.
Serves 4 to 6
Adapted from a recipe by Richard Olney in Simple French Food, a wonderful book that I highly recommend.