The recipe calls for bacon and I think it's an important flavor component. For those of you who don't eat pork, or meat, you can substitute butter and or olive oil (a couple tablespoons) to sauté the onions.
- 2 pounds zucchini
- Kosher salt
- 1 pound frozen spinach*
- 3 slices of thick cut bacon (about 3 ounces), cut crosswise 1/4-inch pieces
- 1 large onion
- 1 handful of parsley (about 1/2 cup of leaves, lightly packed)
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 eggs
- Extra virgin olive oil
* Or 6 packed cups of fresh chopped spinach leaves, blanched and drained
1 Grate and drain zucchini: Grate the zucchini. Toss the grated zucchini with about a teaspoon of Kosher salt. Place the grated zucchini in a large sieve (or colander) placed over a bowl to catch the water as the salt helps the zucchini release its moisture.
Let sit for 30 minutes or so, then squeeze out the remaining excess moisture with paper towels or a clean tea towel.
2 Thaw and squeeze the spinach: Thaw the spinach, let drain while the zucchini is draining. Then squeeze out the excess moisture with paper towels or a tea towel.
3 Cook the bacon: Heat a large skillet on medium heat. Add the bacon and gently cook until lightly browned and most of the fat rendered out, about 10 minutes.
4 Add onions: While the bacon is cooking, peel and finely chop the onion. Add the onions to the bacon and cook for an additional 10 minutes, until the onions have softened.
5 Prepare parsley and garlic (persillade): While the bacon and onions are cooking, prepare the parsley and garlic. Place the parsley and garlic with a small pinch of salt into a food processor and pulse just a couple of times.
6 Preheat the oven to 350°F.
7 Prepare the filling: Place the zucchini into a large bowl. With a wooden spoon, mix in the cooked onions and bacon. Mix in the spinach, parsley, and garlic. Mix in half of the Parmesan. Taste, and add black pepper and more salt to taste. Mix in the eggs.
8 Fill gratin pan: Coat the bottom and sides of a 2 quart casserole or gratin dish with a tablespoon of olive oil. Put the zucchini spinach mixture into the dish and pack it down. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan cheese over the top and drizzle with a little olive oil.
9 Bake: Bake in a 350°F oven for 40-45 minutes, until the top is nicely browned. Serve immediately. Reheats well.