In 2000, during an appearance on Good Morning America, French-trained chef Julia Child assembled a simple zucchini casserole. It had some of the features of the classic Green Bean Casserole that’s served at Thanksgiving, but without the sour cream and mushroom soup.
The revered kitchen wizard had just published Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom and she displayed that wisdom with her creation of Zucchini au Gratin. (Video recipe here.)
Over the years, other cooks have tinkered with the simple, but tasty recipe. Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, caps off her version with bread crumbs as well as cheese. A nice touch.
The “Mother Sauce”
Both versions include a velouté sauce, considered by famed 19th century Chef Auguste Escoffier to be one of the five “mother sauces.” Don’t let the fancy French name intimidate you. It’s basically making gravy.
Now that we can get zucchini year round, it’s easy to serve this tasty and elegant dish to family or for special occasions. Just be prepared for a mountain of zucchini when you shred 1-1/2 pounds for the recipe. It reduces to a more manageable amount when you compress and squeeze out the water. (Remove as much liquid from the zucchini as possible or the dish will be runny.)
Serve with a gusty imitation of Julia saying, “Bon Appetit!”