Courgette and tomato gratin with bay and garlic beans

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Vegetarian mains

Courgette and tomato gratin with bay and garlic beans

Main Serves 2 50 min
A gratin needn't always be a heavy, potato-based and cream-laden dish. In this version the tomatoes and courgettes release liquid as they cook and the whole thing becomes self-saucing. If you wanted to bulk out this gratin a few parboiled and sliced potatoes would fit snugly. I've opted for a side of creamy cannellini beans, perfumed with bay and spiked with lemon and garlic. Although already cooked, the beans will still soak up a surprising amount of flavour if reheated and left to infuse with some complementary aromatics.

Ingredients

  • 3 large or 4 small courgettes
  • 4 large or 6 smaller tomatoes
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • olive oil
  • 20g fresh basil
  • 50g breadcrumbs
  • 50g Italian style cheese
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tin cannellini beans
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper

Method

Prep time: 5 min
Cooking time: 45 min
  • Step 1

    Preheat oven to 220°C/Gas Mark 6. Wash the courgettes, remove the ends and slice at an angle into half cm thick slices. Wash the tomatoes and cut to a similar thickness. Peel and finely chop or crush 2 of the garlic cloves.
  • Step 2

    In a bowl mix the sliced courgettes with the chopped garlic and a little olive oil. Rub the oven dish with some olive oil and layer in half the courgettes in an overlapping pattern. Season well with salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Tear and scatter over a few basil leaves.
  • Step 3

    Top the courgettes with half the tomatoes. Season with salt, pepper and basil in the same way. Repeat the layers again with the remaining courgettes and tomatoes. Cover the gratin with foil and pop in the oven for 30 minutes.
  • Step 4

    Meanwhile, mix the breadcrumbs, cheese and dried oregano together in a bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and mix until everything is well combined. Drain the beans and tip them into a small pan. Add a little water until barely covered.
  • Step 5

    Pop the bay leaf in to the pan. Roughly smash the remaining 2 garlic cloves and add those too. Simmer the beans gently on the lowest heat for about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, squeeze in the juice from half the lemon, season well with salt and add a glug of good olive oil.
  • Step 6

    Leave to rest while the gratin cooks. Take out the gratin after the 30 minutes and remove the foil. Drop the oven temperature to 180°C/Gas Mark 4. Evenly spread the breadcrumb mix on top and return to the oven for 10-15 minutes until golden.
  • Step 7

    When the gratin is ready remove the smashed garlic cloves and bay leaf from the beans and drain away most of the excess liquid. Check the flavour of the beans, they should be well seasoned, lemony and aromatic from the bay. Serve scoops of the gratin with the beans as a side.

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