Tomato and Zucchini Casserole With Crisp Cheddar Topping
This casserole is a modern twist on an old favorite, the tomato-zucchini bake. But instead of a Parmesan and bread-crumb topping, this one is covered in a savory oat and Cheddar crumble that crisps and browns in the oven. Dollops of garlicky, herbed ricotta make the casserole wonderfully rich and creamy, while olives liven it up with their salty tang. This is equally good warm or at room temperature, preferably served within four hours of baking so the topping stays crunchy. Or you could make it the night before and reheat it in a 375-degree oven until bubbling. It makes an excellent side dish or meatless main course.
- Serves: 8 persons
- 5tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed, more for buttering casserole dish
- 1 ½cups whole milk ricotta
- ½cup fresh basil or mint leaves
- 2garlic cloves, finely grated or minced
- 2 ½pounds tomatoes, cut into 1 1/2-inch wedges
- 1pound slim zucchini, thinly sliced
- 1teaspoon fine sea salt, more as needed
- ½cup high-quality pitted black olives, roughly chopped
- ½cup all-purpose flour
- ½cup rolled oats
- ½cup shredded Cheddar cheese
- 1 ½teaspoons fresh chopped oregano or marjoram
- ¾teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
Step 1Heat oven to 400 degrees and butter a 9- by 13-inch casserole dish or 2-quart gratin dish.
Step 2In a food processor or blender, purée the ricotta, basil and garlic.
Step 3Toss tomatoes, zucchini and 1 teaspoon salt in casserole to combine, then spread into an even layer. Dollop with ricotta mixture and scatter olives evenly across the top.
Step 4In a medium bowl, combine flour, oats, cheese, oregano or marjoram, lemon zest, cayenne and a large pinch of salt. Use your fingertips to work in the 5 tablespoons butter; you should end up with small clumps. Scatter clumps over vegetables, then drizzle liberally with olive oil.
Step 5Bake until golden and bubbly, 35 to 45 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.