Don’t call it a vegetable gratin,” said chef David Baruthio as we rolled up our sleeves and started making this dish. “Americans think that gratin means it will have cheese in it.”
Oh, for heaven’s sake, Chef, give us some credit! Anyone who cooks French food at all knows by know that a gratin is simply something that’s baked in the oven in a gratin dish…..right?
Well, maybe not. So, we settled on the name of Farandole de Legumes for this lovely summer harvest dish. A farandole is a traditional dance of Nice, France, so Farandole des Legumes is a fittingly poetic name for a dish brimming with favorite South-of-France veggies arranged as if dancing in a circle together. Serve this with grilled lamb or beef or roast chicken. It’s heaven.
Step by Step instructions, straight from the kitchen of Baru 66:
1. Gather Your Ingredients
First, find the best zucchini, eggplant, and tomatoes you can find. For this recipe, which served 2 to 3, we used 1 small zucchini, 1 medium eggplant, and 1 large tomato. Also get the olive oil, garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper on your counter. You’ll need a 7-inch oven-going skillet.
Note that if you want to serve more people, use more vegetables, a larger skillet, and go up on the olive oil and garlic as needed. It’s really an easy recipe, more about “seeing and doing” than about exact measurements.
1. Slice the Vegetables
• Slice the zucchini about 1/4 inch thick; slice the eggplant and tomato thinly as well (as close to 1/4 inch thick as you can get it).
• Note in the photo above that David is using a serrated knife to slice the eggplant. No matter how sharp your slicing knife is, a serrated knife will work better.
2. Prep the Oil
• Whisk together two tablespoons olive oil, 1 finely minced garlic clove, and 1 teaspoon thyme leaves.
3. Layer the Vegetables
• Pour about half of the olive oil mixture into your pan.
• Start with a slice of eggplant; turn the slice in the oil to lightly coat it. Salt and pepper the slice.
• Place to the edge of the pan.
• Repeat with the other vegetables—coat each slice in oil, then salt and pepper it. Continue layering the eggplant, tomato, and zucchini slices, layering them in a circular pattern until the pan is filled.
• Pour the remaining olive oil mixture over the vegetables.
4. Bake the Gratin
• Preheat the oven to 375°F.
• Cover the pan with foil. Cut a small hole (about 1-inch in diameter) in the top of the foil to allow steam to escape.
• Bake for 15 minutes. The vegetables should be softened at this point, though they won’t be brown (above).
• Uncover and bake about 10 minutes more or until the vegetables are light brown (below).
• Allow the gratin to stand at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes. The vegetables will firm up somewhat, while soaking in the flavorful garlic-infused oil.
• Serve and savor.