I made this dish for my book club last week. Our book was The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. This book is about the way Americans eat and the food chains that sustain us, from industrial down to organic. This dish is in the hyper-local organic category (my terminology) because it features veggies from my neighbor, Kristin’s, garden and the farmer’s market. The cheeses come from our local dairy outlet, Hansen’s Dairy.
During our discussion, we talked about the difficulties of cooking and eating the hyper-local, organic way. It’s true — this is time consuming and not what most of us are used to. However, the benefits to the environment, our health and our culture outweigh the monetary costs, especially in the long-term. So head out to your garden or farmer’s market and enjoy a dilemma-free meal with your loved ones while these great veggies are still in season!
2 large zucchini (approx. 8” each, or 3 medium), thinly sliced
1 small onion, sliced into thin rings
3 fresh tomatoes, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 to 3 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup fresh mozzarella
1/4 cup feta cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
10 fresh basil leaves, cut into a chiffonade
1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180 ºC). Spray a deep 8 x 8 baking dish (2 quarts) with cooking spray or lightly brush with oil.
2. In a medium bowl, combine cheeses.
3. Layer the veggies and cheese like this: zucchini rings first, then garlic, then tomatoes, then onions, then basil, then cheese. Repeat until you’ve filled your dish and the last layer is cheese. Top with dried basil or rosemary.
4. Cover and bake until zucchini is tender; about 45 minutes.
5. Uncover and bake until cheese is melted and golden, about 10 more minutes.
NOTE: This recipe will be “juicy” from the veggies, there’s no getting around it. The book club members didn’t seem to mind, and I saved the “juice” to use in a soup later.