Summer vegetable gratin.

When the interminable stretch of heat and 150% humidity finally broke recently, I was somewhat motivated to turn on the oven to make something for dinner. I browsed through my binder full of recipes and magazine clippings and found a page from a 2015 edition of Food & Wine featuring a recipe for a vegetable casserole topped with crunchy, cheesy breadcrumbs. Perfect.

I had nearly everything on hand: green beans and bell pepper from my garden, corn from the farmstand, a couple of zucchini sitting in the fridge. I picked up some shelling beans from Scott Farm at Findlay Market and cooked them in broth. From there, it was a matter of chopping, sautéing and stirring in cream and eggs. I tinkered with the original recipe a bit; you could add or omit your favorite summer vegetables to the mix.

We loved this vegetable casserole as a main course for dinner, with a salad of sliced tomato and burrata, and some crusty bread and homemade butter. It would also make a terrific side dish for grilled chicken or steak.

This is the perfect summer-to-fall transition dish, to make while summer produce is still abundant and the days shorten and cool enough where you’re totally fine with the idea of firing up the oven.

summer vegetable casserole recipe

serves 8

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
2 small zucchini, diced
1/2 pound slender green beans, trimmed, cut in 1-inch pieces
3 large cloves garlic, sliced
2 cups cooked lima beans (or other shelling beans; thawed if frozen)
4 ears corn, kernels removed
1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper (or a dash of cayenne)
Coarse salt
1/2 cup vegetable stock or water
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 cup heavy cream
2 large eggs
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 cup shredded white cheese (gruyere, Swiss, mozzarella)

Preheat oven to 425°; grease a large baking dish. In a large skillet, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat; add onion, bell pepper and zucchini. Cook, stirring, until vegetables begin to soften, 5–7 minutes. Add green and shelling beans; cook another 5 minutes. Add garlic and corn; cook until all vegetables are tender but not mushy, about 5 minutes more. Add stock or water and simmer until liquid evaporates. Season vegetables with salt, Aleppo pepper; add basil and chives. Let cool slightly. Transfer vegetables to baking dish. In a glass measuring cup, whisk together cream and eggs. Pour over vegetables and stir to combine. On a piece of waxed paper, toss together breadcrumbs and shredded cheese. Sprinkle evenly over casserole. Bake 25–30 minutes, until topping is golden and mixture is bubbly. Let sit 10 minutes before serving.

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