Seasonal Recipe: Tomato and squash au gratin

Tomato and squash au gratin assembled ready for the oven

This recipe has come quite a long way since I first made it in August when my brother-in-law and wife came to stay. It's derived from a Delia recipe which involves courgettes and I've adapted it to make it more heart friendly. It was well received and I've continued to make it to hoover up our plentiful courgette crop, until last month when I only had a small one left. However, I also had a teeny tiny winter squash which combined with the courgette was a complete revelation. The squash added lots of flavour and I resolved to continue with today's recipe to use up all the smaller ones from this year's crop.

This week's variation was by accident when I sliced some of the squash so thinly, they were more like crisps when they came out of the oven. This got a huge thumbs up from NAH and the request for more like this in future.

This has become a weekend favourite of ours for supper, served with a jacket potato, a large salad and a tasty dressing. Those wishing to keep their carbs low could substitute sweet potato for the jacket one.

Ingredients

  • 160g winter squash - prepared weight. I used a small squash which was exactly the right size. A portion of this size cut from a larger squash is another option
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil + extra for greasing a dish
  • 1 heaped teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 large beefsteak tomato
  • Grated strong cheddar (strong because we're using less these days and we need the flavour not to feel deprived!)
  • Dried mixed herbs
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Method
  1. Peel the squash if it's thick skinned - mine was thin, so I omitted this step
  2. Trim the squash end(s), slice in half and scoop out any seeds
  3. Add the oil to a large frying pan and heat gently so it spreads to cover the whole of the pan
  4. Thinly slice the squash and add to the frying pan. There should be enough of them to cover it in one closely packed layer
  5. Gently sauté the squash slices and scatter the garlic powder over them evenly
  6. In the meantime, cut the tomato in half and slice thinly
  7. Turn the squash slices over and sauté the other side until both sides have browned slightly and the squash looks translucent
  8. Lightly grease a flan dish (or similar) with olive oil
  9. Add 3 slices of the tomato at the 'top' of the dish and lightly sprinkle with dried herbs and grated cheese
  10. Overlap a layer of squash on top of the tomato, also sprinkled with herbs and cheese
  11. Alternate the layers of tomato and squash + herbs and cheese until the flan dish is covered
  12. You should have some squash left over; arrange it around the edges of the dish - the thinner slices if you have them
  13. Add a final scattering of herbs and cheese on top of the dish, plus freshly ground black pepper to taste
  14. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes at Gas Mark 5 until browned and the cheese has melted (375°F/190°C or 170°C for a fan assisted oven)
Serves 2.

Tomato and squash au gratin fresh out of the oven


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