If your family is anything like mine, “unusual” vegetables may be harder to bring to the table. I wanted to prove that I could make a fantastic dish that everyone would love whether they were vegetarian or not.
The apples and squash melt in your mouth which provides the perfect match for the gooey, mild Gouda. As you’re chewing, you get pleasant sensations from the cooking sherry and a surprising bite from the leeks and Parmesan. I strongly recommend using fresh sage- it is the smallest but most significant ingredient in this recipe!
There were two things that shocked me when it came to making this dish. First, I had to go to two stores to find butternut squash. Delaware is a farming state and I shouldn’t have had that problem. Hm. The other is once I served the gratin, it was the first dish gone!
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 medium leeks, white part only, trimmed of roots and tough outer leaves, thinly sliced crosswise, well washed and dried
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
- 1/2 cup dry sherry or cooking sherry
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage, plus leaves for garnish
- 1 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and sliced 1/8-inch thick
- 1 pound apples (Gala, Cortland, Baldwin, or Macoun) peeled, halved, cored, and cut into 1/8-inch thick slices
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded Gouda
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a 10-inch skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Add leeks and 2 tablespoons water; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to brown, about 10 minutes. Add sherry and sage and cook until liquid is reduced to a glaze, about 3 minutes; set aside.
- In a 2-quart shallow baking dish, arrange squash in overlapping layers; cover with shredded Gouda and season with salt and pepper. Spread leeks evenly over the squash.
- Arrange apples in an overlapping layer over the leeks. Brush apples with remaining tablespoon oil. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake 45 minutes.
- Uncover and sprinkle cheese over the top. Raise the oven temperature to 450 degrees and bake 10 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and is golden brown. The tip of a paring knife should easily pierce the gratin. Let cool 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with sage leaves.
Note: Can be made vegan with Daiya and vegan Parmesan. In step 4, sprinkle cheddar or mozzarella Daiya on top and place on top shelf in the oven. Boil cheese at 400 F until it is melted.