Friday, December 11, 2009

Easy tomato and courgette gratin

What with all my pork pie and turkish delight making, I'm getting a bit fat. And it's not even, really, Christmas yet. I haven't even had the first mince pie of the year (more of which later).

So I'm going on a post-Christmas run-up, pre-Christmas diet, in anticipation of all the chocolate and potato and salmon-on-bread I'm going to be eating, starting in about a week's time.

Staring at the larder at about lunchtime yesterday, all I could think about was have a very large egg sandwich (or maybe 2) with a lot of butter and homemade celery salt:

(Celery salt:

The leaves from a head of celery

Cut from a head of celery all the leaves and arrange them on a baking tray. Put in the oven at 180 for five minutes until they are dry and crispy. Remove to a pestle and mortar and bash up, then add rock or sea salt.)

But I couldn't have that, all that bread. But what I did have was a quantity of tomatoes and some courgettes and remembered a Delia recipe for a tomato and courgette gratin. The secret with a gratin, I find, is to use about four times as much cheese as you think is reasonable and scatter, over the top a small quantity of breadcrumbs, which give a smidge of crunch and a tiny thrill of carbohydrate to the stodge-dodger.

Tomato and courgette gratin:

I used six large-ish tomatoes and two courgettes for this. It fed two hungry people, with a salad, with leftovers.
A large block of parmesan
a handfull of breadcrumbs
sage or other herbs

1 Slice up the courgettes thinly and sautee them for about ten minutes with sage and garlic (or thyme, or whatever herbs you have) and salt.
2 Slice up the tomatoes and the parmesan, leaving about a third of the parmesan to grate over the dish
3 arrange the tomatoes, courgettes and parmesan slices in layers. Delia recommends overlapping them, like tiles on a roof, but I simply don't have that kind of dexterity, so it all went in sort of higgledy piggledy.
4 grate over the remaining parmesan and scatter over the breadcrumbs and season generously with salt and pepper
5 stick in the oven at 190 for 30 mins

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