When faced with a vegetable that you’ve never cooked before, you can always try making it a proxy for a something that you have. Especially if that vegetable is as familiar as a potato, and the preparation is as adaptable as a gratin. Nowadays, we tend to think of this dish as a creamy, cheesy casserole of sliced potatoes. But you can cook anything in the oven with a sprinkling of breadcrumbs on top and call it a “gratin,” in French tradition. … Read More
Someone recently asked me what the difference was between scalloped potatoes and potatoes au gratin. The best answer is that “scalloped” simply means that the potatoes are thinly sliced, as in discs. And “au gratin” means, roughly translated, “with grated things.” No, those grated things don’t have to be pieces of cheese, necessarily. It could be small, grainy crumbs of bread as well. Many French and Italian gratins don’t feature any cheese, but they are baked with crispy stuff atop … Read More
It might seem less appropriate to cook zucchini when they’re as bright and bouncy as in the summer. And I don’t mean just lightly sear, but really cook — at a slow and low roast until meltingly tender — fresh, in-season zucchini. It might seem inappropriate to turn on the oven at all. But this aberration to my summer cooking routine has yielded a dramatically sweet, savory, and altogether satisfying way to enjoy one of my all-time favorite foods. It’s kind of like … Read More
Imagine this gloriously textured mess with a runny fried egg plopped on top, and you’ve just accurately captured my breakfast. (Now try to picture the gluey streaks of yolk goo and breadcrumbs stuck to my cheek. No, don’t.) This dish was a tasty way to enjoy what seems like a more hearty, slow-cooking dish very fast. It’s not quite a casserole, and it’s not simply roasted vegetables. It’s a gratin.