Make Ahead

Mom's Famous Zucchini Gratin

June 12, 2021
9 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland
  • Serves 6 to 8
Author Notes

I am the mom, and this is one of my daughter's favorite recipes that I created one summer when she was in high school (it was the only way I could entice my family to eat zucchini!). She later used it in her college senior project on the history of women as cooks, and served it as part of her project presentation. The crème fraîche is a key ingredient, along with the mix of squashes and grated cheeses. A mix of Gruyère and Parmesan also works well. —JoanG

Test Kitchen Notes

JoanG's gratin method—all in one pan, without the fuss of layering—is brilliant. Rosemary and three different wings of the onion family roast together with the squash and then the crunchy, cheesy topping is added just for the last 20 minutes. Scallions add intrigue to the standard flavors of shallot and garlic (Note: I'd recommend going for smaller than 1-inch lengths unless you're feeling especially rustic). And if you prefer a saucier gratin, consider upping the creme fraîche. - Kristen —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 8 to 10 baby or small yellow squash and zucchini (or 3 medium-sized) sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
  • 6 scallions, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 sprigs rosemary, leaves only
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 3 tablespoons crème fraîche
  • 2 slices of good whole-wheat toast, crumbled
  • 3/4 cup grated Swiss and Manchego cheese, mixed together
  • Freshly ground pepper
  1. Place first five ingredients (squash through rosemary) in a buttered gratin pan.
  2. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Toss until everything is coated.
  3. Bake at 375° F for 30 to 40 minutes. Squash should be tender but not completely limp.
  4. Take the pan out from the oven and toss squash again. Top with with dollops of crème fraîche, then sprinkle on the breadcrumbs and the shredded cheese.
  5. Drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over the top. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper. Return pan to oven and bake until the crust is nicely browned and crisp, about 20 minutes.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • BarnOwlBaker
  • jessicamclement
  • JoanG
  • lux113082
I love food! I love to cook, eat, read about food, write about food, and enjoy meals with friends and family. I have been writing a food memoir for the past decade and am just about done! I epsecially love to create recipes using seasonal and local produce. I love to travel and wherever I go I shop at markets, cook, and try to take a cooking class.

19 Reviews

Melissa H. November 13, 2020
This is a delicious, simple and versatile zucchini dish. I was looking for some kind of casserole but so many of them seemed very heavy and required a lot of prep work. I deviated slightly from the recipe ingredients, using some tips from the comments. I used a few spoonfuls of low-fat sour cream instead of creme fraiche, used goat cheese and gruyere. I also omitted the toast bread crumbs, and instead sprinkled pine nuts on top. This is what I had on hand. Flexible recipes like this is are so great at a time when spontaneous grocery visits are not advisable. I ate the leftovers with scrambled eggs the next morning, so this really is a dish for any meal, and for vegetarians. This will be in regular rotation for us now!
lux113082 November 13, 2020
Thanks o much! Your variations are creative and intriguing!
Melissa H. November 14, 2020
Thanks to you for such an inspiring recipe! I sent it to my parents and my sister, that only happens with a dish worthy of passing on ;)
Will August 5, 2019
this is an incredible recipe! left out the scallions and used only parmesan (the real stuff if course) and it still turned out both flavor and texture.
VANESSA W. May 10, 2016
What can I use as a substitute for creme fraiche? I am not keen on using greek yogurt. Any other options? Thank you
lux113082 May 10, 2016
Vanessa, I have used a garlic cream instead of Creme Fraiche (a puree of garlic, lemon and olive oil). Otherwise, I think sour cream would work. Or perhaps a soft fresh feta or goat cheese. Feel free to experiment!
BarnOwlBaker August 17, 2015
Delicious! An easy to make version of a gratin. I used garden fresh zucchini
and yellow squash, asiago cheese, and pecorino. I didn't have creme fraiche so I mixed Greek yogurt with 1/2 & 1/2. It was a great way to use up a lot of zukes! Will try with creme fraiche next time! Brought this to a BBQ and it was eaten up! Thanks!
jessicamclement November 24, 2014
wowzas! i made this last night for dinner and it was so easy and so delicious.
lux113082 November 24, 2014
So glad you like it! JoanG
jeanne July 9, 2014
Are you still out there...? Is this a total of cheese or 3/4 of each?
lux113082 July 9, 2014
Yes I am still here! Yes, 3/4 cup total grated cheese. You can use whatever type you like best.
LizCo77 January 27, 2014
So good! I used what I had on hand, which was dried rosemary instead of fresh, red onion instead of shallots, and Colby Jack, mozzarella, and parmesan instead of Swiss and Manchego. No scallions, no bread crumbs-yet still totally delicious! I can't wait to make it again.
dmass August 9, 2012
My husband and I and his daughter love this recipe, yum! I can't thank you enough for giving me something tasty to do with all the zucchini we have coming out of our garden. :) My question is, I'm thinking of freezing some and I thought maybe I can put the gratin together and cook it through step 3. Then cool and freeze. What do you think about that?
Dirty D. July 18, 2012
Wondering about a technic for similar recipes. I take dinner to family on Monday night and would like to prepare this on Sunday. How far do I go, do I reheat? Do I broil for a few minutes at their house? this gratin thing is perfect for making ahead. I just don't know what to do the next day.
Julie J. October 13, 2011
I made this several times over the summer, changing it up depending on what types of squash, cheese, herbs, and onions I had on hand. I substituted Greek yogurt for the creme fraiche a couple of times. We loved the versatility, and I'll be making this for many summers to come.
the M. July 3, 2011
This is a really yummy way to use up your excess of summer squash. I made a double batch for a small family gathering and the casserole dish was the first dish to disappear. The rosemary w/the onion mixture adds so much flavor and pre roasting the veggies gives so much flavor before you put the topping on! I am trying this approach with all of my othe gratin recipes. Thanks for sharing!
JoanG July 8, 2011
Thanks so much for your great feedback! I have made this about a dozen times so far this summer!
lux113082 August 5, 2019
So glad you liked it! JoanG
JoanG July 8, 2010
Thank you Kristen for testing and picking my recipe! I apologize for all the typoes. I have a vision disability and my daughter proofed it after the deadline so I could notmake changes. I am so glad you liked it!