Provençal zucchini gratin Baked zucchini and summer tomato sauce in olive oil… simple perfection

Provencal zucchini gratin

This easy zucchini tomato gratin is a celebration of fresh summer vegetables

One of the reasons I love Provençal cooking so much is that vegetables never take a back seat. They are an integral part (I would even say the cornerstone!) of Provençal cuisine. They’re treated with great respect, cooked in an uncomplicated manner, and always taste fabulous.

This gratin is an homage to the cuisine of Provence – in all its simple deliciousness. Young zucchini are sautéed in olive oil, then topped with an aromatic tomato sauce and baked until all the flavors have merged. Simple, for sure, but also mouthwatering… and absolutely superb when served with either toasted couscous or quinoa.

Five simple ingredients. One beautiful gratin.

Needless to say, when making a dish with so few ingredients, the freshness of the vegetables is key. Sun-ripened tomatoes and just-picked zucchini from the farmers’ market (or your own backyard!) are ideal. They’ll deliver a gratin that will make your taste buds sing with delight.

Pan-roasted zucchini

Food & wine pairing: Provence, Ventoux AOC red with zucchini gratin

Red wine iconIt’s no accident that the wines of Provence pair perfectly with the local cuisine – both are the product of a sun-drenched land. And a Provençal red from Ventoux AOC is perfect here. These wines are juicy and have good acidity, red fruit aromas and a hint of spice – beautiful with the flavorful gratin. Of course, a Côtes du Rhône is delicious here too!

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Provençal zucchini gratin

serves 4
active time: 1 hr (includes making the tomato sauce)

  1. 5 young zucchini (about 8″ long)
  2. 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  3. sea salt to taste
  4. 1 recipe summer tomato sauce with sweet onions and fresh herbs
  5. 1/2 cup finely grated Reggiano Parmesan
  1. 1 medium ceramic baking dish (13″ x 9″ x 3″) – lightly brushed with olive oil

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. camera icon Trim the stem ends of the zucchini and cut in half lengthwise. Set aside. Heat a large heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium-high heat. (The pan must be large enough to hold the zucchini in one layer. If you don’t have a pan that’s big enough, sauté the zucchini in two batches.) Add the olive oil and zucchini halves, placing them in the pan cut-side-down. Sauté for 4 to 5 minutes until golden-brown. Turn the slices over and continue to sauté for about 2 minutes until golden-brown. (They will cook faster on the second side.) Transfer to the prepared baking dish, placing them cut-side-up and slightly overlapping, and sprinkle with the salt. Spoon the tomato sauce over the zucchini. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and bake for 50 to 60 minutes until the zucchini is very tender, the juices are bubbly and the top is brown. Remove from oven and serve either warm or at room temperature.

Viviane’s tip
  1. The zucchini and tomato sauce will release some very flavorful juices during the baking. So make sure to drizzle those on the couscous or quinoa… or mop them up with a piece of crusty bread!

Provencal zucchini gratin

gratin, zucchini, tomato sauce

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  • Reply Liz July 25, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    Whoa, does this look fabulous! The hubby won’t touch zucchini, but I’d be happy to make the whole batch for myself—and eat it as a meal with some crusty bread. Such summer comfort food.

  • Reply Deb|EastofEdenCooking July 23, 2015 at 8:51 pm

    My garden is happily producing fresh zucchini daily! This flavorful recipe using the bounty of the season is just the type of summer recipe I need!

    • Reply Viviane Bauquet Farre July 23, 2015 at 9:21 pm

      Hi Deb! My garden is in the same phase… I can’t eat zucchini fast enough these days! Don’t you love summer? Enjoy this yummy gratin!

  • Reply Alice Kintisch July 17, 2015 at 12:14 am

    I love this dish, but my zucchinis are no longer young! My garden overflowed with them, and so I have only relatively large ones. Can I slice bigger ones and cook them in a similar manner to make this dish?

    • Reply Viviane Bauquet Farre July 18, 2015 at 6:42 pm

      Hi Alice, You can cut your larger zucchini in quarters lengthwise and sauté them on all 3 sides. But larger zucchini are much more watery than young ones, so it will dilute this dish a bit. You need to keep an eye on your zucs… and pick those babies young! 😉 Enjoy!

  • Reply Evelyne@cheapethniceatz July 15, 2015 at 7:05 pm

    zucchinis a in my least favorite veggies but prepared like this I would devour them. So true about veggies and this cuisine.

  • Reply RavieNomNoms August 4, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    That looks lovely!

  • Reply mjskit August 3, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    Great dish! The summer squash are just now starting to show up at the markets and this will be a great dish to share with friends. Thanks!

  • Reply susan @ the wimpy vegetarian August 2, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    This looks like a fantastic celebration of summer vegetables from the garden right now. I’m making this one this week. LOVE.

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