I wanted to share this delicious gratin recipe I made last night. It was so good that I am eating this again for dinner tonight so I figured it was blog worthy. This gratin may seem a little far fetched when I list the ingredients but trust me the flavors really do come together so beautifully… it is a surprise to the palate. Last night I was at the market shopping for ingredients, and I was about to make the decision between either making a cauliflower gratin or a potato gratin…hmmm tough decision as they would both go so well with my steak. I sauntered around and grabbed some thyme, picked out some apples, walked by the squash section and realized how sad I was that butternut squash season is almost coming to an end. I looked in my basket at the apples and thyme and instantly Butternut Squash and Apple Gratin popped into my little head. I wanted something creamy and salty to top it with…Feta….ooh and Creme Fraiche. Done. Sometimes I surprise myself, and this recipe will now be in my repertoire for years to come.
There are many things the french culture has taught me, however one lesson that I always take with me to the grocery store is simply buy produce in season.
Even though at every grocery store in America we can get strawberries now (in January) and we can still purchase apples in June…and butternut squash…. Now is the proper season for apples and butternut squash. So much so that the apples I purchased were grown here in California and the butternut squash was as well. The word savor comes to mind when doing this…Savor every bite because you know that butternut squash (or whatever ingredient you happen to love- perhaps it is fresh sweet watermelon in the summer months) will only come around a few months a year and you really need to savor the dishes you will have for that year until the next. Okay, okay off my soap box now 🙂
In other news, I hired a french tutor! I will go for a private lesson 1-2 times per week. I have made it my goal to become fluent in french…some day. You’ve got to start somewhere right?! I had started french lessons when I was living in Austin. I had hired the most lovely quintessential french woman Sandrine to teach me, who is now a dear friend of mine…I now live in California so a new teacher it was. I will keep you posted!
Gratin recipe below…This is also great for a vegetarian meal. In fact, tonight I will have this sans steak and add a nice green salad.
Butternut Squash & Apple Gratin with Creme Fraiche
2 tbsp unsalted butter, plus additional for baking dish
2 lbs. butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 2 inch pieces
3 baking apples (I used granny smith) peeled, cored, and cut into wedges
Salt and Pepper to taste
3/4 cup Creme Fraiche
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 tbsp walnuts, chopped
3/4 cup feta cheese
1 tbsp fresh thyme
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9X13 baking dish (I just used a baking sheet) and add sliced apples and butternut squash. Dot with 1 tbsp butter and season to taste with salt and pepper. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Meanwhile in a medium bowl, combine creme fraiche and cinnamon. Set aside. Melt remaining tablespoon butter in a nonstick pan over medium heat and add the onion. Sauté 5-7 minutes until lightly caramelized. Salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and add in walnuts, feta and thyme. Add the creme fraiche mixture and combine thoroughly. Pour mixture over the butternut squash and apples and return to the oven. Continue baking until the vegetables are tender and the top is golden 20-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve immediately. Garnish with additional thyme if desired.