Classic and time honored French veggie casserole with summer vegetables. I like to call it crustless pizza and as the summer passes and the veggies get to be better quality this dish only gets better. I used a mandoline to cut the veg but you can certainly use a knife just try to cut all the same thickness so they cook the same. Traditionally this would have eggplant in it and no fennel but I like the flavors better this way. - thirschfeld Originally I submitted this with mozzarella but in reality I like it best with comte. —thirschfeld
Test Kitchen Notes
This wonderful, layered casserole will be familiar to lovers of Ratatouille. The thin slices of summer vegetable soften and melt into a wonderful dish. The top layer of cheese is melty and bubbling, with just a few tasty brown bubbles. Fennel is a wonderful addition to the classic zucchini, summer squash, tomato and onion. Just a touch of thyme completes the dish. You will flash back (or forward) to a warm summer in Provence. - Stephanie
4 to 6
small zucchini, slice 1/4 inch thick
small yellow summer squash, slice 1/4 inch thick
fennel bulb, outer layer and core removed, thinly sliced
Toss the zucchini and yellow squash with a couple of healthy pinches of salt and set them in a colander placed in the sink. Let them drain for 20 to 30 minutes to get rid of excess moisture. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Meanwhile lightly coat the bottom of a casserole or gratin dish with some olive oil. Layer the onion and fennel in the bottom. Sprinkle the garlic and season with salt and pepper.
When the zucchini and squash are ready layer them with the tomato sprinkling them with the thyme.
Cube the butter into small cubes and spread it across the top. Place in the oven for 40 minutes.
At the end of 40 minutes remove the casserole from the oven and turn it to broil. Place the rounds of mozzarella evenly across the top.
Place the dish back into the oven and brown the top being careful not to burn the cheese. Serve immediately.