Individual ‘en cocotte’ zucchini dishes, offer a feast for the senses with a singular presentation, and a light and flavorful combination of zucchini, pine nuts and almond milk, highlighted with the fragrance of curry, fresh basil and garlic.
I have always liked the combination of zucchini and curry and decided to update it by adding pine nuts and basil. If you are not specifically looking for a lactose free dish, feel free to add some goat cheese. Otherwise, using the almond milk here renders a delightfully light dish, full of flavors. The individual servings of ‘en cocotte’ add a nice personal touch for each guest.
4 small zucchini
3 garlic cloves
2 tsp curry powder
1 cup almond milk
1/2 cup pine nuts
1 oz basil
Olive oil, salt and pepper to taste
4 mini Le Creuset cocotte (or similar) with lids.
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Wash and cut the zucchini in 1/4 inch slices. Chop garlic finely.
Place zucchini, garlic and curry in a large bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Toss the bowl to completely coat all the zucchini slices with the combination of garlic and curry mixture.
Place an extra large sauté pan (with very wide diameter at the bottom) on medium-high heat. Add some olive oil to generously coat the bottom of the pan.
When the olive oil is hot, add the zucchini mixture, spreading the slices across the entire bottom of the pan.
Cook, tossing occasionally for about 15-20 minutes, until the zucchini is mostly cooked. Some slices will have become softer, but the majority should still be firm.
Place pine nuts in a separate dry pan over medium-low heat and toss frequently to ensure even roasting.
Slice the basil in a ‘chiffonade’, by placing all the basil leaves together and then slicing thinly.
Place a row of zucchini, topped with roasted pine nuts and basil in the bottom of each ‘mini cocotte’, this layer should fill about one third of the cocotte. Continue alternating zucchini, roasted pine nuts and basil until filled almost to the top. Be sure to reserve about 20 zucchini slices for topping the cocottes decoratively prior to baking. Also reserve some of the basil chiffonade and a few pine nuts for the last touch prior to serving.
Meanwhile, whisk the eggs together in a bowl. Add a little salt and pepper to taste.
Add the almond milk and mix thoroughly.
Pour the egg and almond milk mixture over the top of each cocotte filled with the zucchini using a small ladle.
The mini cocottes should be almost filled to top but not quite, leaving enough room for one last row of zucchini slices and moderate rising during baking.
Top with overlapping zucchini slices.
Cover the mini cocottes with their lids.
Place them on a baking sheet and bake for about 50-60 minutes in a 350F oven. If you use the convection option of your oven, then diminish time appropriately by checking after about 25-30 minutes.
Fully cooked mini zucchini cocotte out of the oven. Let sit for at least 10 minutes before serving as they are burning hot when coming out of the oven.
Decorate with extra basil ‘chiffonade’ and a few roasted pine nuts. Serve and enjoy!