Mushroom and Zucchini Gratin

A gratin is a dish where the main ingredient is covered in a browned crust. This recipe comes from the website chocolateandzucchini.com, a wonderful place for cooking and baking ideas. I choose it for my friend D and I to prepare because it required only the simplest of ingredients, yet managed to be unique and delicious. The original recipe can be found here.

mushroom and zucchini gratin
Mushroom and Zucchini Gratin

Gently sweat finely diced onions in oil, add minced garlic
Cook until onion is translucent and garlic becomes fragrant
 

Add diced mushrooms, thyme, salt and pepper
Cook until the mushrooms have released their juices 

Add flour and slowly simmer to thicken the mushroom juices
Check seasonings and pour mixture into a gratin dish
 

Cook zucchini over medium heat, add salt, pepper, and herbs.
Cook until just softened. Check for seasonings. 

Zucchini releases a lot of water during the cooking process. I strained the cooked zucchini before adding it to the gratin. This step will help keep your gratin reasonably dry, i.e.: not in a giant puddle of vegetable juices.

Pour the zucchini on top of the mushrooms. Sprinkle breadcrumbs, butter, cheese
mixture on top, garnish with chopped parsley leaves. 

To make the topping, I combined the breadcrumbs, cheese, and butter in a food processor and pulsed until the butter was finely chopped. No food processor? Using your fingers or a fork to blend everything also works. 


If you have a food processor, making your own breadcrumbs is incredibly easy. Take 1 or 2 slices of bread (toasted, fresh, or frozen), put it in a food processor, and pulse for 1 minute. 

Bake at 425 F for 8- 10 minutes, or until the top is golden brown 

 As you can see, this recipe makes enough to serve a crowd. It can also be baked in individual ramekins.

mushroom and zucchini gratin
mushroom and zucchini gratin

mushroom and zucchini gratin
mushroom and zucchini gratin

Mushroom and Zucchini Gratin 
Serves: 6 as a side dish 
Ingredients 
  • 2 tbsp oil, divided 
  • 1 small onion, finely diced 
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1 lb cremini mushrooms, 1/4 inch (1 cm) dice 
  • 4 tsp fresh thyme leaves, divided 
  • 1 tbsp all purpose flour 
  • 4 zucchinis, julienne
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1.5 cups breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp butter, room temperature, diced 
  • 1/4 cup grated cheese (I used Gruyere, Parmesan also works, try experimenting!)     
  • 2 tbsp parsley leaves, chopped 

Method 

  1. In a pan over medium heat, sweat the onion in 1 tbsp oil until translucent. Add garlic and cook for another minute. 
  2. Tip in diced mushrooms, season with 2 tsp thyme, salt, and pepper. Cook until mushrooms have released their juices, about 10-15 minutes. 
  3. Add flour, stir and cook until a thick sauce forms. Pour mushrooms into a large gratin dish. 
  4. Heat up the remaining oil and cook zucchini for 5 minutes, season zucchini with 2 tsp thyme, salt and pepper. The zucchini should be softened, but not mushy. 
  5. Preheat oven to 425 F. 
  6. In a bowl, combine breadcrumbs, butter, and grated cheese. Mix with fingertips until butter is incorporated into the breadcrumbs. Alternatively, pulse in a food processor. 
  7. Cover zucchini layer with breadcrumb mixture and garnish with chopped parsley. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Serve immediately. 

Gruyère Stuffed French Toast with Sautéed Mushrooms

My friend and I are doing a cooking challenge, we each picked 2 recipes to try out for the week, and we agreed to send a picture of the finished product to one another. This recipe was chosen by my friend from Food52. I followed the recipe pretty closely, right down to the copious amounts of butter used to fry the stuffed French toast. This made for a rich and delightfully savory lunch, although the stuffed French toast was good, my favourite part was definitely the mushrooms!

Gruyère Stuffed French Toast with Sautéed Mushrooms
Gruyère Stuffed French Toast with Sautéed Mushrooms

First, find yourself some Gruyere cheese. Can’t find it? Substitute with Comte, Beaufort, or a Swiss Cheese. 
Gruyere Cheese, a hard cheese from Switzerland
Gruyere cheese, a cow’s milk cheese from Switzerland 

The original recipe called for unsliced challah bread, which unfortunately I could not find. So I substituted a thickly sliced, fluffy (not dense) sliced whole wheat bread.

Thinly slice Gruyère cheese and lay across a slice of bread,
cover with a second piece of bread 

And voila! More grilled cheese sandwich than French toast at this point, but don’t worry, it will be miraculously transformed in just a minute! Set the sandwich aside for now while you prepare the sautéed mushrooms.

Saute garlic and crimini mushrooms in butter and oil
Sauté garlic and crimini mushrooms in butter and oil
be sure to use a pan that’s hot enough to allow mushrooms to brown , not steam! 

Add thyme, salt and pepper to crimini mushrooms
Add thyme, salt and pepper, cook until golden brown
check for seasoning and remove from pan 

 While your mushrooms are cooking, this is an excellent time to prepare the coating for your French toast.

Beat 1 large egg with 1/4 cup of milk, add salt and pepper to taste
Beat 1 large egg with 1/4 cup of milk, add salt and pepper to taste

Dip one side of sandwich into the egg mixture
Dip one side of sandwich into the egg mixture, allow the
bread to soak up some of the coating 

Flip over and allow the other side to absorb some of the coating as well
Flip over and allow the other side to absorb some of the coating as well 

Fry in butter over medium-low heat, approx. 3-4 min per side
until both sides are deep golden brown and the cheese is melted

If your mushrooms have finished cooking before the stuffed French toast is ready, simply leave them in a warm place (near the stove works) until everything is ready.

Gruyère Stuffed French Toast with Sautéed Mushrooms

Gruyère Stuffed French Toast with Sautéed Mushrooms
Serves: 1 
Ingredients 
  • 2 thick slices whole wheat bread 
  • ~60 g Gruyère cheese, thinly sliced 
  • 1 tsp butter, plus more for frying French toast 
  • 1 tbsp olive oil 
  • 8 crimini mushrooms, sliced 
  • 1 clove garlic, minced 
  • 3-4 sprigs thyme, leaves only, minced (~2 tsp) 
  • 1 large egg 
  • 1/4 cup 2% milk 
  • Salt and pepper to taste 
Method 
  1. Sandwich thinly sliced cheese between two slices of bread, set aside 
  2. In a pan over high heat, add 1 tsp butter and 1 tbsp olive oil. Add sliced mushrooms and minced garlic, sauté until mushrooms are golden brown. There should be very little liquid released from the mushrooms. Be careful and do not let the garlic or mushrooms burn. 
  3. To the mushrooms, add minced thyme, season with salt and pepper. Cook for 1-2 minutes more before removing from the pan and holding in a warm place 
  4. In a large, shallow dish, beat together egg and milk, along with a pinch of salt and pepper 
  5. Dip both sides of the sandwich into the egg mixture, approx. 10-15 seconds per side 
  6. In a separate pan over medium-low heat, add enough butter to coat the bottom, gently slide in the stuffed French toast, cook for 3-4 minutes until the bread is a deep golden brown, flip and repeat on other side 
  7. Serve with sautéed mushrooms 

Sautéed Mushrooms with Creamy Sauce

Cooking for my parents made me realize the importance of catering to my audience. Just as a teacher takes into account the abilities of his or her pupils when planning a lesson, a cook needs to take into account the preferences of the people when preparing a meal. I made this for dinner last night, as a compromise between my parents’ request to not have Indian food, and my need for culinary adventure. The dish was a hit, the creamy sauce complemented the meaty mushrooms and it was devoured by all.

The trick to making browned mushrooms is a very high heat, otherwise, mushrooms will release water and steam rather than caramelizing.

The sauce is a variation on béchamel. Rather than using a white roux, a blond roux is used, which gives the sauce a nuttier flavour. Feel free to add cheese to the sauce for an even richer dish.

Sautéed Mushrooms with Creamy Sauce
Serves: 4-6 as a side dish

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp salted butter 
  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour 
  • 1 lb white button mushrooms 
  • 1 tbsp oil 
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1 cup (250 mL) milk, warm 
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh green herb of your choice (green onion, parsley, thyme, etc) 
Method 
  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and add the flour to make a roux. The roux should be just slightly crumbly and not liquid. Add more flour if it looks too wet, more butter if it looks too dry 
  2. Turn heat to low and give the roux a stir every once in a while to prevent burning while you prepare the rest of the dish 
  3. Wipe clean mushrooms, cut into quarters or eights depending on their size 
  4. In a separate large sauté pan, heat oil over high heat until hot. Add minced garlic, follow immediately with mushrooms, sauté over high heat for 4-5 minutes, until nicely golden brown. Season with salt and pepper and remove the pan from the heat. 
  5. By now, the roux should be golden brown, whisk the warm milk into the roux bit by bit, getting rid of any lumps that form. Continue whisking until the sauce thickens. Season the sauce with salt and pepper. 
  6. Pour the sauce into the mushroom pan, mix to coat mushrooms in sauce. Garnish with minced green onion, parsley, or any green herb 

Stuffed Mushrooms with Paneer Cheese and Peas

Stuffed mushrooms with paneer cheese and peas
Stuffed mushrooms with paneer cheese and peas

Great idea for an appetizer or a side dish with an Indian twist. White button mushrooms are stuffed with peas and fresh Indian cheese for a healthy and delicious bite.

Saute paneer cheese
Heat oil in a pan, add minced ginger and black mustard seeds
Once mustard seeds stop popping, crumble in paneer cheese 

Paneer, peas and mushroom stems
Saute cheese for a few minutes, then add in fresh or frozen
peas and mushroom stems, season with salt and garam masala 

Process in food processor
Process in food processor until mixture resembles
coarse breadcrumbs 

Season mushroom caps and stuff
Season mushroom caps with salt,
then stuff with pea and cheese mixture

Stuffed mushrooms
Repeat until all mushroom caps are stuffed 
Saute over medium heat until bottom is golden 
Bake at 350 degrees F for ten minutes until
mushroom caps are fully cooked 

Stuffed mushrooms with paneer cheese and peas
Enjoy!

The stuffing is also delicious inside hollowed out tomatoes or mini potatoes. To make this recipe vegan, simply substitute medium firm tofu for the paneer cheese. 

Stuffed Mushrooms with Paneer Cheese and Peas 
Yields: 24 stuffed white mushrooms 
Ingredients 
  • 24 white button mushrooms 
  • 1 tbsp oil, divided 
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp ginger, minced 
  • 1/2 cup paneer cheese, crumbled 
  • 1/2 cup green peas, fresh or frozen 
  • 1 tsp salt, divided 
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
Method 
  1. Wipe clean mushrooms with a damp cloth, pull out the stems and chop roughly 
  2. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat, add 1/2 tbsp oil, when oil is hot, add in mustard seeds and ginger. Put a lid on the skillet immediately to prevent mustard seeds from jumping out 
  3. When the mustard seeds stop popping, add in the paneer cheese, cook for a few minutes 
  4. Add in the mushroom stems and green peas, cook until vegetables have softened, season with 1/2 tsp salt and the garam masala. 
  5. Remove filling from skillet and process in a food processor until mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs 
  6. Toss mushroom caps with 1/2 tbsp oil and 1/2 tsp salt, stuff with cheese mixture 
  7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F 
  8. Lightly brown the bottoms of the mushroom caps in a skillet before transferring into a baking sheet and baking in the oven for 10 minutes