Layered Zucchini and Tomatoes
by Susie Middleton
- 3 Tbsp. chopped toasted pine nuts
- 3⁄4 cup fresh breadcrumbs
- 3⁄4 cup grated Parmigiano cheese
- 5 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive
- 1 large yellow onion (about 6 ounces), peeled, trimmed, and very thinly sliced
- 1 small or 1⁄2 large red bell pepper (about 4 ounces), cored and very thinly sliced
- kosher salt and fine salt
- 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp. honey
- 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil, mint, cilantro, or a combination
- 3⁄4 lb. small or medium tomatoes, cut in half and thinly sliced
- 1⁄2 lb. zucchini (about 1 1⁄2 small zucchinis), thinly sliced
- 3 Tbsp. finely chopped pitted Kalamata olives or oil-packed sundried tomatoes (drained), or a combination of both
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Rub a shallow 2-quart baking dish with a little olive oil. In a small bowl, combine the pine nuts, the bread crumbs, 2 Tbs. of the Parmigiano, and 2 tsp. of the olive oil. Mix well.
In a 10-inch skillet, heat 2 Tbs. of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, the peppers, and a good pinch of salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the peppers are softened and the onions are shrunken and browned, about 15 minutes. (Turn heat to medium-high if necessary.) Let the onions and peppers cool slightly. Transfer them to the baking dish and spread them evenly in one layer across the bottom. Let cool. Sprinkle the chopped olives and/or sundried tomatoes and about 2/3 of the herbs over the onions and peppers in the pan.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, the honey, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and 1⁄4 teaspoon salt. Add the zucchini slices and the remaining chopped herbs and toss until the zucchini slices are thoroughly coated. Starting at one end of the baking dish, arrange alternating rows of tomato and zucchini slices slightly overlapping each other. (Begin by propping a row of tomatoes up against the end of the dish at a slight angle.) You will probably have enough zucchini slices to do two rows of zucchini for every one row of tomatoes. After you finish arranging each row, sprinkle a little of the Parmigiano cheese over the slices before layering the next row on. You should have just enough vegetables to fill the dish with rows (and to cover the onions and peppers), but if you have too few you can spread the rows out a bit, and if you have too many, you can squish the rows together a bit.
Scrape any remaining seasonings from the zucchini bowl over the vegetables. Sprinkle any remaining Parmigiano over all. Sprinkle 1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt over all, and drizzle on the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. (Be sure not to leave out this olive oil as the zucchini needs it to cook thoroughly.) Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over all.
Bake until well browned all over and the juices have bubbled for a while and reduced considerably, 50 to 60 minutes. Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.
Serves 4 to 6