Great even with supermarket tomatoes in the middle of the winter, this dish is a year around favorite. Use firm tomatoes, just before they fully ripen, so that they are sturdy enough to keep their shape while cooking. The tomatoes soften and start to caramelize, which intensifies their flavor, and the pale green zucchini slices are a mellow contrast. Garlic infused olive oil, Parmesan and fresh thyme round out the seasoning. Serve hot or at room temperature, when the pan juices are particularly flavorful. For an easy meal, serve with crusty bread or a rice pilaf and grilled chicken or beef. If you have leftover meat from earlier in the week, even better.
Parmesan is an aged cheese with almost no lactose in it. According to “Food Intolerance Management Plan”, by Sue Shepherd, most people with lactose intolerance can handle about 4 grams of lactose per serving of food without experiencing problems (page 29). As always, only eat what your body can tolerate, and only you know what that is.
Tomato and Zucchini Gratin
Serves 4 to 5, adapted from Bistro Cooking
1 pound (500 grams) zucchini (about 2 medium), ends trimmed, thinly sliced
8 small firm tomatoes (2 pounds; about 1 kg), cored and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons (30 ml) garlic infused olive oil
1 teaspoon (5 ml) fresh thyme
1 cup (240 ml or 100 grams) Parmesan cheese, optional
Preheat the oven to 475°F (245°C). Arrange the zucchini in an even layer in the bottom of a 13x9x2 inch (33x23x5 cm) baking dish. Layer the tomatoes on top of the zucchini. Scatter the thyme, then drizzle the oil over the tomatoes. Bake uncovered until the vegetables are soft, about 20 to 30 minutes. Remove the dish from the oven and sprinkle the Parmesan over the top, then return it to the oven and bake until the cheese melts and begins to brown, about 10 to 15 minutes.