Courgettes Au Gratin




Julia Child, known for her vast knowledge of French cooking and introducing it America, made this particular au gratin popular.  Her recipe, one of the versions anyways, calls for heavy cream.  I have replaced it with a lower fat milk and flour (béchamel) sauce.  This dish is naturally vegetarian, and one of the few where I whole heartedly believe that soy milk and cheese will not substitute.  My sincere thanks to my friend, Bren who has kept me in courgettes (zucchini) all summer.

This dish is adored by vegetarians and non-veg alike.  It goes quickly.  I suggest making a double batch if left overs are part of your meal plan.

2 cups raw. shredded zucchini (courgettes)

1 spanish onion, chopped

2 Tbs. olive oil

1 1/4 cup low fat milk

2 Tbs. flour

1 cup hand shredded parmesan or aged cheddar

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 F.  On a box grater, grate several small or 1 large zucchini rendering 2 cups.  Peel and dice onion.  In a large skillet, heat 2 Tbs of olive oil.  Add zucchini and onion and salute until onions are translucent.  Butter a medium baking dish.

At this point, the traditional recipe calls for heating heavy cream in a pan and thickening with a bit of flour.  To save time and calories, I take 1 1/4 cups of low fat milk and whisk it together with the 2 Tbs. of flour in a small bowl.  No heating required.

Spoon zucchini and onion sauce into the buttered baking dish.  Pour the béchamel base over the mixture.  Top with cheese, salt and pepper.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  Turn the heat to 400 and bake an additional 5 minutes, allowing the top to turn golden.  Serves 2 as a main meal and 4-6 as a side dish.