It’s no secret that I love, no, really love vegetables. My close friends and family are accustomed to hearing me wax nostalgic about my mother’s impressive cooking and produce garden. While I can’t give everyone the luxury of my mom’s expertise with veggies, I can offer up one tried and true family secret – cheese!
Cheese is the perfect vehicle to introduce vegetables to even the most fiber-phobic eater. In this week’s recipe, ribbons of green zucchini and eggplant are coated with not one, not two, but three, types of cheese to add depth of flavor. Mozzarella and parmesan are familiar favorites whose flavors are seriously deepened when combined with sharp, lovely fontina.
Earthy vegetables meet crumbly matzah, Italian seasoning, and savory cheeses, for a new take on comfort food. Kids will love to crush the matzah sheets and help create the layers of this delectable veggie dish.
Passover Zucchini and Eggplant Gratin
3 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise into ¼ inch slices
2 Japanese eggplant, cut lengthwise into ¼ inch slices.
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup of heavy cream, divided into three portions
1 cup grated mozzarella, divided into three portions
1 cup grated fontina, divided into three portions
½ cup grated parmesan, divided into three portions
3 sheets of matzah, crumbled
2 tablespoons of Italian seasoning, divided into three portions
2 tablespoons olive oil
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Spray a 9 by 13 inch baking dish with kosher for Passover nonstick cooking spray. You can also grease the pan with margarine or oil.
Divide the vegetable slices into three portions.
Place the first layer of zucchini and eggplant in the bottom of the dish, and sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper.
Pour the first 1/3 cup portion of the heavy cream on the vegetables. Sprinkle 1/3 each of the mozzarella, fontina, and parmesan cheeses over the cream. Then add 1/3 of the matzah crumbs, and 1/3 of the Italian seasoning.
Repeat the process, layering vegetables, cream, cheese, matzah crumbs, and seasoning. Then do it again. You should end up with three layers total with matzah crumbs and Italian seasoning on the top.
Drizzle with olive oil and bake uncovered for 40-50 minutes, or until the dish is bubbling and the top is brown. (You may want to place a tray or cookie sheet below the dish to catch any cheese that bubbles over during baking).
Be very careful when you remove this hot, bubbly, cheesy goodness from the oven. Let the dish stand for five minutes before serving.
This post is the second in a special series of recipes created just for PJ Library by Jennifer Stempel of TheCubanReuben.com. You can see the first recipe, Roasted Broccoli Florets with Lemon Garlic Matzah Crumbs, here. Don't forget to share photos of your family with their PJ Matzah with us on social media (#pjlibrary).
March 25, 2016