Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Root vegetable gratin + zucchini "noodles" with a balsamic reduction


What a great late summer meal! Who doesn't adore a crispy-on-the-outside-meltingly-tender-on-the-inside gratin? And this zucchini recipe is another one to die for—or, as it were, to live for, otherwise you won't be able to enjoy it again and again.

The gratin is potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, and turnips, all julienned and steamed in batches for about five minutes each, just until barely tender, then mixed with a spicy béchamel sauce (which I topped up with some added vegetarian broth powder) and baked in a shallow casserole for about 45 minutes, removing the casserole briefly about five minutes from the end to sprinkle on some almonzano (or you could add buttered breadcrumbs, but I didn't have any). Oh, my word! You'll see so many more gratins from me before the winter is ended.

Meanwhile, the zucchini is based on this recipe, but instead of cutting the zucchini with a knife, I used a vegetable peeler to peel off paper-thin slices. Did this work out well or what?

You'll need about one store-sized zucchini per person, and don't use anything bigger or you won't be able to get the slices off it, and don't try to fry more than one zucchini in one pan at one time—you want them fried, not steamed. Put the "noodles" into a non-stick pan with a generous splash of pre-heated olive oil and two cloves of garlic, sliced, some lemon pepper, and fry away until it seems perfectly done to your taste. Then spill it out onto a plate and drizzle the balsamic reduction (simply some balsamic vinegar cooked in a small pan until it reduces to about 1/3 its former volume, which takes about 10 minutes for approximately half a cup over medium-high heat) over it. Divine!

The beans are just steamed green beans with a little more of the lime-tarragon mayonnaise from the other night (I liked it so much I made more).

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