Leek and Zucchini Casserole

Leek and Zucchini Casserole

Summer brings an abundance of zucchini either from your own garden or the farmers’ market. I found piles of leeks at the farmers’ market at the same time the zucchini reached peak season. As I eyed them, it was like they were screaming at me to make a Leek and Zucchini Casserole! I went a little crazy with this recipe in terms of over-the-top richness, — butter, Parmesan and Cheddar cheeses –but once in a while it’s so nice to sit down to an ooey-gooey mound of deliciousness on your plate.

Leek and Zucchini Casserole

How to Clean Leeks

First, let’s address those leeks. They’re sandy and require a thorough cleaning. Remove the dark green tops and the root portion at the bottom of the bulb and discard. Cut the leek in half lengthwise and then into thin slices. Toss into a large bowl of cold water and swish around. Take handfuls of the leeks and gently rub between your palms to separate the layers and loosen the dirt. Let sit for a few seconds so the dirt settles to the bottom of the bowl. Scoop the leeks into a colander. Drain, rinse, and refresh the bowl with cold water, and repeat the cleaning process once more. Drain.

Slicing the Zucchini

I used a mandolin to slice the zucchini into ¼-inch rounds, which is the perfect size for the time and temperature in this recipe. If you cut the zucchini by hand and make thicker slices, or just prefer thicker slices, increase the timing by a few minutes.

Leek and Zucchini Casserole

Herbs

Herbes de Provence is a lovely blend of Provencal herbs, which complements the delicate taste of this leek and zucchini casserole. I like Penzey’s herbes de Provence which contains rosemary, cracked fennel, thyme, savory, basil, tarragon, dill weed, oregano, lavender, chervil, and marjoram. Or, substitute something earthy like thyme or rosemary, either dried (same amount) or fresh (1 tablespoon, plus 1 ½ teaspoons minced).

Key Points for Success

Zucchini has a high-water content which is expelled during cooking. The only place it has to go is into the casserole and eventually over the sides onto the oven floor. I always recommend placing this style of recipe on a lined baking sheet to catch any drippings. But you can also take a couple of steps to prevent too prevent this.

The leeks and cream also contain water, dilute flavor and increase chances of spillage. Don’t skimp on the time suggested in the recipe to saute the leeks, which releases and evaporates the water and intensifies flavor. Same for the cream, cook it down until it’s thick enough to stay in place when stirred. Following these simple instructions yields a delicious, cheesy and less runny leek and zucchini casserole.

Leek and Zucchini Casserole

Let’s get started. Grease a 1-quart casserole dish with a little butter – I use my slightly smaller Le Creuset 24-ounce casserole dish – and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Melt the butter in the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

Add the leeks, garlic, herbes de Provence, salt, and pepper. Stir to coat with the fat and saute for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the leeks begin to brown, reduce the heat a smidge.

Leek and Zucchini Casserole

Add the cream, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a gentle boil, and cook until the cream is quite thick, about 6 or 7 minutes. When you run a spoon through the cream, it stays in place.

Leek and Zucchini Casserole

Stir in the Parmesan cheese.

Spread ¼ of the cream and leeks on the bottom of the greased casserole dish.

Leek and Zucchini Casserole

Lay ¼ of the zucchini slices on the bottom, overlapping slightly.

Leek and Zucchini Casserole

Repeat layering the cream and leek mixture and the zucchini 3 more times.

Strew the shredded Cheddar cheese over the top and bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes.

Leek and Zucchini Casserole

Let sit for 10 minutes to settle before serving.

Tip: The casserole can be prepared a day before cooking. Cover and refrigerate. Take out of the refrigerator and place in preheated oven; increase cooking time by 10 minutes.

 

48204

Print

Leek and Zucchini Casserole

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings
  • Category: Side Dish

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the casserole dish
4 cups thinly sliced leeks
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons herbes de Provence
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
4 medium zucchini cut into ¼-inch coins
1 ½ cups (6 ounces) grated sharp Cheddar cheese

Instructions

Let’s get started. Grease a 1-quart casserole dish with a little butter – I use my slightly smaller Le Creuset 24-ounce casserole dish – and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Melt the butter in the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

Add the leeks, garlic, herbes de Provence, salt, and pepper. Stir to coat with the fat and saute for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the leeks begin to brown, reduce the heat a smidge.

Add the cream, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a gentle boil, and cook until the cream is quite thick, about 6 or 7 minutes. When you run a spoon through the cream, it stays in place.

Stir in the Parmesan cheese.

Spread ¼ of the cream and leeks on the bottom of the greased casserole dish.

Lay ¼ of the zucchini slices on the bottom, overlapping slightly.

Repeat layering the cream and leek mixture and the zucchini 3 more times.

Strew the shredded Cheddar cheese over the top and bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes.

Let sit for 10 minutes to settle before serving.

Notes

The casserole can be prepared a day before cooking. Cover and refrigerate. Take out of the refrigerator and place in preheated oven; increase cooking time by 10 minutes.

Keywords: casserole, side dish, leek, zucchini, cheddar cheese, Parmesan cheese, Herbes de Provence, gluten-free

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *