Chef Jerry Traunfeld * The Herbfarm
14590 NE 145th St., Woodinville, Washington
Phone: (425) 485-5300 *
Located 17 miles outside of Seattle, the Herbfarm has become a celebrated destination for seasonal Northwest cuisine. For Chef Traunfeld, a James Beard Award winner, inspiration comes from the restaurant’s own farm and on-site gardens. Angelica flavors the just-picked rhubarb in springtime, and needles of native Douglas Fir might infuse a sorbet. This delicious eggless gratin pairs basil and zucchini. Over 200 of his prized recipes are included in The Herbfarm Cookbook (Morrow Books, HarperCollins Publishers) available through your local bookstore or www.amazon.com.
Zucchini Basil Gratin
2 pounds zucchini (about 3 medium)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup chopped basil
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon dry bread crumbs
¼ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Shred the zucchini on a box grater or with the shredding disk of a food processor. Put it in a large colander, mix in the salt using your hands, and let the zucchini sit and drain for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Spread ½ tablespoonful of the oil over the inside of a 10” round gratin dish or glass pie plate. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the bread crumbs and shake to coat the bottom and sides evenly.
Squeeze the zucchini dry by picking up baseball-sized handfuls and firmly pressing out the moisture. Put it in a mixing bowl and incorporate 1 ½ tablespoons of the olive oil and the basil (it’s easiest to use your hands again for this). Loosely pat the zucchini into the gratin dish.
In the same mixing bowl stir together the remaining ¼ cup bread crumbs, cheese and remaining tablespoon of oil. Sprinkle the crumbs over the gratin (you can cover and refrigerate it at this point) and bake it for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the crumbs are deeply browned. Serves six.