Zucchini and Tomato Tian with Parmesan Crumbs (+ Dear Summer)

Dear Summer,

I’m writing to ask you a favour. I know. Who am I to ask a favour, given that I haven’t always been the greatest to you–complaining about the heat and all. But if you really want to know the truth, I’m am deeply enamoured by your presence–in love, really. I’d like to ask you to be in my life forever. Like, every day forever. There, I said it. I know it’s a big move, but I feel 100% committed to this.

I hope I’m not coming on too strong.

I know that it’s a big deal to ask you this, but I want you to know how serious I am. If it were up to me, I’d go out right now and buy us a house with a beautiful garden, lots of natural light, near a lake, of course (so that you could swim). You’d spend your days gardening, reading, and learning photography. In the evenings, we’d go for long walks with the dog and come back for a glass of vino on the porch. We’d eat from the garden’s bounty (Yes I said bounty… even though you hate that word.). Everything would be the best we’ve ever tasted because you would have put so much care into nurturing its growth. Of course, we’d have the occasional weeknight dinner later than usual because the sun is still out at 9. Friday nights we’d share drinks on the patio (especially this one) and then we’d head to our friend’s cottage for the weekends, but not before popping into the farmer’s market to pick up some of those burgers that you like.

Think about it, Summer. I mean, all that above, that’s just regular life stuff. In amongst it all, we would paint our toenails really cool colours, complain about our tan lines (but love having a tan), drink Caesars, wear tank tops and bikinis, ride our bikes everywhere!!!, go out dancing, hang out at the beach, make peach pies, go on road trips (obviously), walk barefoot in the grass, and eat ice cream. It would be awesome, right?

If you stick around I will cook you delicious food with ingredients pulled fresh from the earth, like this zucchini tomato tian.  Not to toot my own horn, but I’m a pretty good cook. You won’t regret it

Take some time to think about it. I know it’s a big decision. In the meantime, I’ll be enjoying this zucchinind a tomato tian. There’s a plate for you. Feel free to join me when you’re ready.

Sincerely,

Your greatest admirer, Kris xoxo

PS. This song is for you

Zucchini and Tomato Tian with Parmesan Crumbs (serves 4 – 6)
Slightly adapted from Fast, Fresh & Green by Susie Middleton

// Ingredients //
~1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the pan
1 tbsp freshly chopped mint
1 tbsp fresh orange juice
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
kosher salt
2 small or 1 large zucchini
1 1/2 lbs small ripe tomatoes (about 5)
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup coarsely crushed rice crackers, gluten free breadcrumbs, or panko (not gluten free)
3/4 cup finely grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 375°F and grease a 2 quart gratin dish (or 8 x 8 inch baking pan).

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the mint, orange juice, balsamic vinegar, 1 tbsp of olive oil, and 1/4 tsp salt. Slice the zucchini thinly (between 1/8 -1/4 inch thick) and slightly on the diagonal. A mandoline helps here. Add them to the bowl and toss well. Core and slice the tomatoes crosswise a little thicker than the zucchini, and arrange them on a large dinner plate or platter. Sprinkle with 1/4 tsp of salt. Let both the zucchini and the tomatoes sit while you’re cooking the onions, or for at least 15 minutes. Toss zucchini in the marinade occasionally.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and 1/4 tsp salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are translucent and start to turn golden brown. They should still have some body to them. Transfer the onions to the prepared dish in one layer. Let them cool.

In a small bowl, combine the crumbs of your choice, 2 tsp olive oil, 2 tbsp parmesan, the parsley, and a pinch of salt.

Drain the accumulated juices off the tomato and zucchini. Starting at one end of the gratin dish, arrange the vegetables in rows with the slices slightly overlapping each other. (Arrange the first row so that the pieces are resting against the back edge of the pan.) Alternate however you like. Sprinkle a little Parmigiano over the zucchini slices as you go. If you need to fit in a few more rows, you can compact the rows slightly. Press gently to make sure the vegetables are level. Sprinkle any leftover Parmigiano over the vegetables and then sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top.

Bake until well browned all over and the juices have bubbled for a while and reduced considerably–about 60-70 minutes. The edges of the gratin will be dark. Let cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.

 

 

2 Comments

  • Reply August 17, 2012

    kelly (@kelly_bakes)

    I love this! I’ve actually never been a huge summer fan, mainly because I’ve never had time to enjoy it, but this summer has made me appreciate it a little more. So much so, in fact, that I’m almost sad to see the leaves starting to change, even though I know it means my beloved autumn is on its way. Here’s to savouring the last bites of summer and hoping we can persuade it to stay :]

    [oh and love the edward sharpe <3]

  • [...] Though I love summer more than life itself, there is something really special about the experience of being warm and cozy indoors on a cold winter’s day. It feels peaceful and contemplative. I guess the old adage, “you can take the girl out of the North, but you can’t take the North out of the girl” is true in my case. My Northern girl roots yearn for the occasional gentle falling of snow, and my new (relatively speaking) Southern wings prefer that it only visit for a short while. [...]

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