Thursday, September 4, 2008

Zucchini Gratin

Gratins are such a big part of French cuisine - gratin dauphinois, vegetable gratins, seafood gratins, the variety is endless. They can be served as a side dish or as a starter.

Here's a simple zucchini gratin that uses bechamel sauce. Aah the ever elusive bechamel. My struggle with bechamel is legendary. I've lost count the number of times I've burnt it, turned it into either a lumpy or a watery mess, made too much, made too little. Slowly but surely I'm beginning to get a hang of it & from 1 out of 10, I think I do get it right at least 5 out of 10 times now.

The trick is to make sure you have everything on hand. Milk, check. Fluor, check. Oil, check. Don't even think of running to the pantry to get extra milk while you are making bechamel. Doomed. Use a whisk. For the longest time, I was using a wooden spoon. Doomed. Measure everything, at least in the beginning. Stir. Stir. Stir.

So have I scared you off ? Don't be. Maybe it's just me. I just don't have the bechamel mojo.

Zucchini Gratin

1 big zucchini or 2 medium, cut in cubes
3 Tbsp of fluor
3 Tbsp of oil or butter
1/2 litre of milk, warm
3 eggs, beaten
grated cheese

1. Boil the zucchini cubes in water until soft. About 15 mins. Drain & set aside

2. *drum roll* now to make bechamel sauce. Heat up oil or melt the butter. Next add the fluor. Mix well in oil. Do not let it burn or colour. Pour in the milk, a little at a time, making sure to mix well with the fluor to prevent clumps. Once it starts to boil, add more milk. Stir constantly & making sure it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot. As it thickens, you can add more milk depending on the consistency you want. Once that's done, (see it wasn't too bad, was it?), mix in the 3 beaten eggs. Add salt to taste

3. Lay the zucchini cubes in an oven tray. Pour over the bechamel & egg mixture. Next sprinkle grated cheese over

4. Bake in oven 210C for 30-40 mins until the top turns golden brown

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