Let’s get fresh

New Potato, Squash and Goat Cheese Gratin

It’s spring so that can mean only one thing: fresh produce. After a long, cold winter where the fresh fruit and veg counter looked to be selling produce picked ages ago, it’s great to return to the times of plenty. Over the past few weeks since the return of spring, I’ve seen in my local market medvehagyma (aka ramsons), strawberries, zucchini and the beginning of the coming flood of fresh-from-the-ground new potatoes. Let’s put all these together for a tasty side dish for any meal!

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 2 fresh Hungarian strawberries
  • 2 medium zucchini
  • Handful of medvehagyma (8-10 leaves), thinly chopped
  • 0.5kg small to medium red new potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 125g goat cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 60ml cup whole milk
  • 30g freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced basil, thyme leaves or handful of medvehagyma (8-10 leaves), thinly chopped

Instructions

Preheat oven to 205°C. Lightly grease a medium-sized (2-litre) casserole dish with a drizzle of olive oil.

Using a mandoline, or chef’s knife, cut the zucchini and potatoes into thin slices, about 3mm thick or less. Toss the slices with the 3 tablespoons olive oil in a bowl.

Layer a third of the zucchini and potato slices spread evenly in the bottom of the dish, then season with salt and pepper. Top with half of the chopped herbs or medvehagyma. Place half of the goat cheese, scattered evenly in large chunks on top of previous layer. Repeat with another third of the zucchini/potato mix, seasoning again with salt and pepper, remaining herbs, then top with the other half of the goat cheese. Finish by layering on the final third of the vegetables and seasoning with salt and pepper.

Pour the milk over the entire dish. Top with the Parmesan cheese. Bake, covered, for 45 minutes.

Eat two strawberries.

Uncover dish and bake 25 more minutes, until the top browns. Scatter on a little of the fresh medvehagyma, if using.

Enjoy.

Additional tips: It may be necessary to remove some of the excess moisture which comes from the zucchini. Just use a spoon or turkey baster to suck out some of the excess.  Also make sure to check for the doneness of the potatoes. If necessary recover at the end, lower the heat to 180C and bake for some additional time (until tender)