2011/09/06

Clinging (Tomato, Squash & Potato Gratin)

These last few fleeting days of summer have put me in a clingy state of mind. 

Not stalkerish clingy (just had to clear that up), but sentimental clingy. 


While there is a piece of me that is head over heels in love with fall and all comes with it, there is a piece of me that looks back on summer and wants to cling.

To the last few days before my "baby" girls officially start their Junior & Senior days of high school. 

The Runner Girl began her last season of cross-country...
To the warm evenings and extra hours of daylight. 

To the smell of a freshly cut lawn.  The hum of the lawnmower.   

The sounds and tastes of summer.  Berries that leave their stains all over your fingers.  Green beans just plucked from their vines.  Summer squash still wet with the morning dew.  Tender young peas - oh, so sweet. 

To those last few minutes on the beach.  The rays of the sun.  Hot sand between your toes.  The lap of the water on the shore.

To the warm summer rains.  The fresh scent it leaves behind.

I want to hold on to these things so tightly.  To always remember the simple joy that each brings. 

To frame each perfect moment as a still life in my mind. 



Knowing that the changing of the seasons is not the end of the world. 

The coming of age of my girls is not the end of the world either.  Watching their youth straddle the fence of adulthood.  Glimpsing each "season" of their life shining through. 

Transitions. 

Summer meets fall in this gratin.  Those last few fruits of the vine say "hello" to the fruits of the earth.  Vine ripened tomatoes, vibrant summer squash and earthy potatoes meet up in this transitional fare. 

Simple enough for a family meal.  Fancy enough for company.  Reminding you that the best of both worlds is not as far away as you might think. 


Tomato, Summer Squash & Potato Gratin
Adapted from Whole Living Magazine, September 2011

2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbs unsalted butter
1 onion, slice thinly
2 - 3 medium tomatoes, sliced 1/4" thickness
1 medium summer squash, sliced 1/4" thickness
2 medium potatoes (like Yukon gold), sliced 1/4" thickness
Coarse salt & Freshly ground pepper (I used 3-4 turns of the grinder on both)
1 cup grated Gruyere
1-2 Tbs chives

Preheat oven to 375F. 

Preheat large skillet over medium-high heat.  When hot, add 1 Tbs butter & 1 Tbs olive oil.  Saute onions for about 7-8 minutes, until onions are tender and just start to turn golden. 

Spread onions in the bottom of a shallow baking dish.  (9" x 13" or so). 

Layer the potato, squash & tomato on top of the onions.  Season with salt & pepper.  Drizzle remaining Tbs of oil over top.  Sprinkle with grated cheese.  Bake for about 30 minutes, covered.  Uncover and bake for another 30 minutes.  If desired, at end of baking time, broil under high setting for 3-5 minutes for extra color. 

Garnish with chives.  Serve hot or at room temperature. 

7 comments:

  1. This looks absolutely beautiful! And so delicious! I always feel sentimental at the end of summer. It is bitter sweet watching your children grow up...part of you is so proud and part wants to keep them young forever! Life just happens too fast!

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  2. I really love gratins and this looks so delicious. A perfect end of summer dish. I really enjoyed reading your quiet reflections of summer's end, Cher.

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  3. Ack! That's in this month's Whole Living? And here it's just been sitting on the counter for days. So making this! On Saturday, when it was 99 degrees, I was begging for fall, done with heat. Today, it's 68 and raining, and I'm already regretting the beg...

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  4. @ SA: It was hiding. Don't kick yourself too hard - periodicals have gone unopened for a very long time in my house on "occasion".
    Whole Living's version was much kinder - a lot less cheese...

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  5. This looks delicious! We too are eating tomatoes like mad and trying to savor the remaining summer produce before it disappears. Thanks for the recipe, I have clipped it and will definitely give it a try.

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  6. Your gratin looks great and sounds wonderful; love all of the above veggies and pretty like this, who can resist?

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  7. Before I read your whole post, I thought that your gratin was the perfect mix of summer and fall. I love gratins, and I will be trying this one soon. Great post!

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