Summer Squash and Red Pepper Gratin

Here is a fun summery dish that is a great way to use the summer squash that is so bountiful at our farmers markets right now. My garden is BURSTING with pattypan squash so that is the kind used plus a few small zucchinis since I have a few growing back there too! I think the thinker skin of the pattypan slash works great for this type of recipe because they don't get as mushy as zucchini but of course feel free to use your favorite summer squash that is in season right now.  I found that cutting the seeds out of some of the bigger squash and only using the pieces that have the squash skin attached is best because the gratin gets less mushy and you see all of the pretty colors from the different squash you used. Food should look good too! I hope you enjoy this dish as much as my husband and I did last night with a juicy grilled pork chop!

Bon appetit!

Summer Squash Gratin

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil/ghee/high quality bacon fat
1 large red onion, finely chopped
6 large garlic cloves, finely minced
3 pounds organic summer squash, cut in 1/2-inch dice, removing the center seeds if  the squash is big. 
1 medium organic red pepper, cut in 1/4-inch dice
 About 2 teaspoons of sea salt, plus more to taste
 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more to taste
*Optional 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
*Optional 6 tablespoons of freshly grated cheese such as Pecorino Romano, if dairy is well tolerated.

Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet such as a cast iron skillet over medium heat and add the onion and a good pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, until tender, about 5 minutes.

Then add the garlic and summer squash and a teaspoon of salt and turn up the heat to high to give the squash some lovely color. Sauté until just softened- about 7 minutes (don't over cook the squash or it will get mushy and the will be sad!).

The add the chopped red pepper, and another pinch of sea salt and cook for a couple more minutes until the pepper is tender. Add freshly ground black pepper, taste and adjust salt to your liking. If you are going to be using the cheese remember that it is salty so don't add too much salt at this step! Stir in the parsley and remove from the heat.

*If you tolerate dairy, top with a generous fresh grating of raw Pecorino Romano (sheep's milk cheese) and stick into your broiler for a minute or two to make a nice cheesy crust. Serve as a side dish, or use as a filling for a vegetable tart or frittata.