Summer Squash gratin


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- Amanda

Some cooks have a natural gift in the kitchen. My good friend Paula is one such cook. Paula has been a bartender at Prune in New York City, a chef on a ranch in Hill Country, and a cookbook author. Now the senior travel editor for Southern Living, most of her cooking takes place at home.

If you stay at Paula's, there are flowers in your bedroom and freshly made biscuits for breakfast. When I arrived at her house in Austin recently, she had some slices of cured boar salumi laid out on a cutting board, and Riesling chilled.

For dinner, she served a summer squash gratin by Suzanne Goin, a friend of hers. She took the recipe from Suzanne's book, Sunday Suppers at Lucques, and added some chile. Because that's what Texans do. Along with the gratin, Paula passed around a soft cows milk cheese and some bread. Peach pie was for dessert. It was 95 degrees in Austin. Summer squash and peaches were exactly what I wanted to eat.

A few steps make this gratin special:

  1. Salting the squash draws out excess moisture, so the finished gratin isn't at all watery.
  2. Browning the butter adds great flavor to the breadcrumbs.
  3. And using a well-seasoned skillet results in a sturdy crust around the edges.

Summer Squash Gratin with Salsa Verde and Gruyere

Adapted from Sunday Suppers at Lucques by Suzanne Goin

Serves 4

Salsa Verde

  • 1 teaspoon fresh marjoram or oregano leaves (1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped mint
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped flatleaf parsley
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 1 anchovy
  • 1 tablespoon capers (preferably salt-packed), drained
  • 1/2 lemon, for juicing
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  • 2 pounds summer squash
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup sliced shallots
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon thyme leaves
  • 1 New Mexico chile or jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

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Amanda Hesser

Written by: Amanda Hesser

Before starting Food52 with Merrill, I was a food writer and editor at the New York Times. I've written several books, including "Cooking for Mr. Latte" and "The Essential New York Times Cookbook." I played myself in "Julie & Julia" -- hope you didn't blink, or you may have missed the scene! I live in Brooklyn with my husband, Tad, and twins, Walker and Addison.


cafemom June 15, 2011
Wonderful dish! I made this for my husbands birthday dinner two nights ago. Didn't have anchovy, used Panko instead of bread crumbs and cooked in the cast iron skillet. The joy of the dish was that 3/4 of the ingredients came from my garden. Love it, Love it! Thank you for sharing.
Amanda H. June 16, 2011
Can I have your garden?
cookinginvictoria June 14, 2011
Love Suzanne Goin's recipes, and her cookbook Sunday Suppers at Luques is one of my all-time favorite cookbooks. This recipe looks so delicious with the addition of salsa verde and the browned butter bread crumbs -- yum! I am excited to try this recipe, although I am going to force myself to wait until the first summer squash in the garden is ready to harvest!
cookinginvictoria June 14, 2011
Oops -- typing too fast. Meant to say Lucques.
Lori L. June 14, 2011
Cooked this last night. It was too delicious for words!
Amanda H. June 16, 2011
Glad to hear it!
Elycooks June 14, 2011
Sunday Supper at Lucques is my absolutely favorite cookbook. We frequently make a whole dinner out of one of her "sides". This is a perfect example - love the addition of chili.
sissy June 13, 2011
Paula makes the best of every occasion - whether it's sitting on the front porch on a warm evening or on a road trip - she always nails it with the perfect food and wine. Wish I had a piece of that pie.....
Nurse N. June 13, 2011
By the way, what do you do with the left over salsa verde? Put it on at the end? I just added the whole thing to the dish before baking??
Amanda H. June 13, 2011
Nan, salsa verde is great served over roasted or grilled fish, roasted chicken, and even a grilled steak. If you added the whole amount of salsa verde to the gratin, that's what made it so rich -- that's 3/4 cup of oil! Next time, just add half (or even a third if you like) and it will cut back significantly on the richness of the dish. I wouldn't recommend using part skim cheese -- you need the full flavor of a whole milk cheese. Glad you enjoyed the recipe!
Nurse N. June 13, 2011
Amanda, I tried it and loved the salsa verde which I will use in other recipes; have to think about how. anyway, we loved the squash gratin and I was so excited that mine looked so much like your picture with the crusy browned bread. I thought the taste was amazing, but I usually go lighter with the richness of this recipe and I wondered what I could do to keep the tast close but not quite as rich...I wonder if you could substitute half olive oil with the butter...don't think that reduces the calories much, but maybe someone else has an idea..maybe part skim cheese?? I used Jarsberg chees and loved it...did not put enough of the Jalipino pepper in...was scared it would be too hot, but that was a mistake...loved it when I bit into one of those yummy pieces.
TXDjinn June 12, 2011
I didn't have all of the ingredients for the salsa verde but had more than enough squash from my garden and wanted to do something with them - other than give them to the deer who are eating up just about everything due to the drought here in the Hill Country. I found a jar of homemade chimmichuri sauce and used that instead and it turned out great!

I also agree that a well seasoned cast iron skillet or pan will add so much extra to the texture of this dish.
Melody June 10, 2011
Hi Amanda! I've been meaning to ask: where can I buy an oven mitt like the one hanging off of your oven?

Thanks in advance!
Amanda H. June 10, 2011
Merrill bought it for me when she was in England a few years ago. I believe it's made by AGA, the stove company.
Stacey S. June 10, 2011
I make this all summer long, it's amazing. The breadcrumbs on top make the dish sing!
AntoniaJames June 10, 2011
Perfect timing! Summer squash has just appeared in our farmers' markets recently, and my marjoram plant is growing like crazy. And of course we always have a ready supply of homemade bread crumbs. I simply cannot wait to try this one. It looks delish! ;o)
Amanda H. June 10, 2011
This looks fantastic! I've been eyeing the summer squash at the Greenmarket so this looks perfect try with it. It was great to hear your thoughts at the Food 2.0 talk on Wednesday!
Amanda H. June 10, 2011
Thanks -- definitely my new favorite recipe.
Queen O. June 10, 2011
Love this! It is a perfect Austin choice and I've been trying to think of something creative for the squash that are being harvested now.
singing_baker June 10, 2011
This is going to be my meatless monday dinner this week! Looks fabulous!
Amanda H. June 10, 2011
It's great for dinner -- don't forget the bread and wine.
TheWimpyVegetarian June 10, 2011
This looks like the perfect summer dinner! I love the addition of the salsa verde and can't wait to make it this weekend!
Amanda H. June 10, 2011
I know -- I never would have thought to combine salsa verde and gruyere but it really works here.
Kitchen B. June 10, 2011
Always looking forward to enjoying courgettes and summer squash. I like the breadcrumbs in it
Amanda H. June 10, 2011
The browned butter is the secret flavor.
ChefJune June 10, 2011
I've made Suzanne's version several times, but I have to say I LOVE the idea of the salsa verde to pep it up. This will be on the menu SOONEST!
Amanda H. June 10, 2011
thirschfeld June 10, 2011
I have been working on a squash gratin for a couple of years and I can never get it quite like I want it. Looks like that quest is over. I will say I have been salting the squash and it is key. This looks delicious. Hurry up garden and snap to it already.
Amanda H. June 10, 2011
Same here in NY -- want to fast forward.
Panfusine June 10, 2011
Can I omit the anchovy in the salsa verde? Any suggestions for vegetarian substitutes?
hardlikearmour June 10, 2011
How about some miso?
Amanda H. June 10, 2011
I think you can just skip it.
phyllis June 12, 2011
I would skip and taste for salt.
EmilyC June 10, 2011
I adore the squash gratin from Suzanne Goin. I make it a few times each summer. I like your tips for making it extra special, especially browning the butter. I'll bet that extra step along sends it over the moon!
EmilyC June 10, 2011
Oops, right after I typed this I realized that the original recipe calls for browning the butter. I'm sure that's why I always find it so addictive! (Brown butter seems to make everything better.) I'm going to try the chile next time and the cast iron pan for the extra crispy edges.