Thursday, September 6, 2012

Zucchini Clafoutis

The English language probably has more words than any other language in the world, and yet, sometimes it is lacking.  As I write this post I am sitting in the dining room of an old friend who lives just south of Paris.  We met more than 20 years ago when I lived in the same little town.  But “old friend” sounds unwarrantedly negative because Mary is only a couple of years older than I am, and frankly, I don’t know anyone younger in spirit and full of positivity – and she is in pretty good physical shape too.  In French, on the other hand, an old friend - one you have known for a very long time - is an ancienne amie.   An old friend - one that is advanced in age - is an amie ancienne.  We need something like that in English, don’t you think? 

Anyhoo, here I am in Paris, enjoying a couple of days with my ancienne amie, Mary, and we have been cooking and gabbing and drinking wine.  She is a wonderful, natural cook who uses fresh ingredients to make delicious meals.  She and her family have made me extremely welcome and I would like to live here forever, except for the probably-imposing-after-a-few-days thing.  I happened to tell Mary about making zucchini clafoutis a couple of weeks ago and suddenly, we had added it to the menu for the evening, along with a sausage pilaf she had already planned.  I sliced and diced the zucchini in the kitchen while she taught a private English class out on the deck in the beautiful sunshine.  The weather has been GORGEOUS this week.  Then she finished the pilaf and got it in the oven, while we enjoyed a glass of wine.  And some more chatting.  Simple delicious food, lovingly prepared then eaten in the company of good friends.  It doesn’t get better than this.

For the vegetables:
2-3 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 large onion
1 lb 12 oz or 800 grams small zucchini or courgettes
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme
Salt and pepper for seasoning the zucchini

For the batter:
1/3 cup or 40 grams flour
1/2 cup or 120ml whole milk
3/4 cup or 180ml heavy cream

1/4 cup or 60ml water

3 eggs

½ teaspoon fine sea salt

3 1/8 oz or 90 grams grated Parmesan (Don’t worry too much about the exact measure.  More won’t hurt. :)

Preheat the oven to 400°F or 200°C.   Grease a 13X9in or 33X23cm baking dish with olive oil and set aside.

Chop your onion and set aside.

Scrub the zucchini and cut the ends off.  Slice in 1/4-inch circles. If you have big zucchini, you may choose to peel them. 

Set a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Drizzle with olive oil and add the zucchini and cook till they brown a little.  Now add the chopped onion.

Season with salt and pepper.  Cook gently for a few minutes and then add the thyme.  

Cook until the vegetables are tender and the water coming from the zucchini has mostly evaporated.  Transfer this mixture to the serving dish and allow to cool.

 To make the batter, whisk together the flour, milk, cream, water, eggs, and the 1/2 teaspoon salt until they are silky smooth.

Pour the egg batter over the vegetables.  

Top with the cheese.

Bake the clafoutis until the eggs are set and top is golden brown, about 30 minutes.

If necessary, brown the top further with the oven broiler or grill before serving.  Can be served hot or at room temperature.



  1. A savory clafoutis! Well, I never! But I will now:) So glad you're having a lovely time w/your ancienne

  2. I got the idea when I made the cherry (tomato) tart earlier this summer, Jenni. I thought, what else can I mix up? Because you know I prefer savory to sweet. :) An internet search revealed that my idea was not original. But it was delicious. These last few days have been DELIGHTFUL.

  3. You know what I love about French cooking? French cooking is mostly technique. And that opens a lot of doors. Your clafoutis looks mighty fine (that's Texan).

  4. That's my favorite part too, Adam. And, thanks for the compliment. After so many years in Houston, I do speak fluent Texan. :)


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