Gratin is a French term for a dish that is baked and has a browned crust on top. This dish is usually made with aubergines but I think it is also very nice with courgettes and if like us at this time of year you are looking for recipes which use the courgettes and tomatoes from the garden, this dish is perfect.
Courgettes are not very nutrient dense but do contain some immune-boosting vitamin C and blood pressure regulating potassium and of course fibre. Tomatoes contain good amounts of vitamin A for eye health and immunity and lycopene which has cancer-protective properties, as well as fibre. If you are using fresh tomatoes, the nutrient level can be increased by storing them at room temperature rather than in the fridge.
2 large courgettes, sliced
Butter and olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and sliced thinly
350g/ ¾ lb tomatoes, skinned and chopped
1 tablespoon fresh parsley
1 teaspoon dried basil
sea salt and ground pepper
175g/6 oz cream cheese softened with 2 tablespoons of milk
4 tablespoons grated cheddar
4 tablespoons dried breadcrumbs *
1 tablespoon butter
*the breadcrumbs can be made by grinding up a stale piece of bread in the food processor after first cutting the crusts off.
Heat a little butter and a tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan.
Add the courgette slices, enough to cover the bottom of the pan, and fry until browned on both sides.
Remove from the pan and drain on kitchen paper.
Fry the rest of the courgette this way, and set them aside on kitchen paper.
In the same pan, fry the onion until golden brown. Stir in the tomatoes, basil, parsley, salt and pepper to taste. Cook gently for 5 to 10 minutes until the mixture begins to soften.
Remove from the heat and season to taste.
Take a baking dish and put one third of the courgette and tomato mixture in the bottom.
Spoon half of the cream cheese on top.
Repeat these layers finishing with the cream cheese on top.
Mix the cheese and breadcrumbs together and sprinkle over the top of the dish.
Cook at 180°C for 30 minutes.
This can be served with meat and a potato dish, or on its own with potatoes to make a meal.