Jefferson Adams is a freelance writer living in San Francisco. His poems, essays and photographs have appeared in Antioch Review, Blue Mesa Review, CALIBAN, Hayden's Ferry Review, Huffington Post, the Mississippi Review, and Slate among others.
He is a member of both the National Writers Union, the International Federation of Journalists, and covers San Francisco Health News for Examiner.com.
I’m hard pressed to find any food that isn’t made better by adding melted cheese. Gratins are a great way to serve up a variety of vegetable and traditional gratins, which typically contain breadcrumbs and flour, are easily adaptable to better suit a gluten-free diet. I love dishes that encourage variation.
I use sharp cheddar and Parmesan because the saltiness mingles with the sweet tomatoes, and melts into bites of dichotomous perfection. Experiment with different cheeses to explore different flavor combinations. A more sophisticated version might include smoked Gouda or creamy butternut squash.
4 medium zucchinis, sliced into ¼-inch thick half-moons
5 plum tomatoes, chopped and seeded
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 large eggs beaten
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 ½ tablespoon fresh chopped thyme
1 ½ tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons pepper
¾ cup cream
½ cup grated sharp white cheddar cheese, divided
½ cup Parmesan cheese, divided
Preheat oven to 375° F and butter a large baking dish.
Melt butter in a large pan. Sauté onions until they become translucent, 3-5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Add zucchini and tomatoes and continue to cook until vegetables soften and incorporate with onions and garlic. Fold in thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper. Gently pour vegetables into the baking dish and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, brown sugar and cream. Stir in remaining salt and pepper. Pour half the mixture over vegetables and sprinkle with half of each cheese. Repeat with remaining mixture and cheese.
Bake for 30-40 minutes until gratin is a golden brown cheese is well melted.