GRATIN DE COURGETTES D'ALINE
(ALINE RENOIR'S BROILED ZUCCHINI)
Gratin de Courgettes D'Aline makes a nice light entree or a side dish to accompany fish, chicken, or veal. The original recipe, originating with French impressionist Renoir's wife, Aline, included anchovy fillets; however, many people don't like anchovies, so I have substituted grape tomatoes.
You can add anchovies if you desire.
With a sharp knife, remove a thin sliver from the ends of each zucchini. Cut the zucchinis crosswise into thin slices; set aside. Prepare the onion for cooking.
In a large heavy skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over moderate heat; add onion and garlic. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until onion is golden brown in color. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, mixing well. Carefully stir in zucchini slices, grape tomatoes, basil, and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking, uncovered, about 5 minutes or until zucchini slices are just crisp tender and zucchini and tomatoes are not mushy.
Coarsely chop hard-cooked eggs, if used; add chopped eggs to zucchini mixture, stirring gently to mix but not break-up egg pieces.
Preheat broiler. Transfer the zucchini mixture to a lightly greased baking pan. Evenly sprinkle the breadcrumbs and butter pieces over the zucchini mixture. Broil, about 4 to 6 inches from heat source, until breadcrumbs are lightly browned and butter is melted. Serve immediately.
Variation: Sauté 6 anchovy fillets in oil, each cut into very small pieces, with the onion and garlic. May omit the grape tomatoes, if desired.