Casserole is a term I don’t love. By definition “casserole” can mean a deep pan used both in an oven and as a serving vessel or for the food cooked and served in such vessel. To me a casserole always sounded like the name for something that was nondescript, randomly thrown together, mushy and flavorless. My grandmother made various types of casseroles, and I never liked any of them, but maybe that’s just generational. In my adulthood I have steered clear of even looking at casserole recipes, preferring a meal with different textures, flavors and consistencies instead.
But, as one ages, you stretch yourself a bit more. In doing so, I tried making a casserole. This is not my recipe, and in fairness to the recipe itself, it’s not actually called a “casserole”, it’s called a “gratin”, but to me, it’s a casserole. This recipe for gratin of Haddock with zucchini and tomato is from a fun cookbook called One Pan, Whole Family More than 70 Complete Weeknight Meals by Carla Snyder. I have adapted this recipe in technique and omitted the cream, making it a tad bit healthier, but otherwise, I make this dish as written and it’s fantastic.
A layered cornucopia of thinly sliced roasted potatoes, shredded zucchini, flakey haddock, juicy tomatoes and crispy herbed breadcrumbs. Loaded with flavor and textures, this is not your typical casserole. I was hooked instantly, both by its simplicity and by the almost effortless method required to make it. To me, this qualifies as a quick meal and it’s not overly “fishy” by any means (according to my older non-fish eating kid). Haddock is a great mild fish (if you can find it) but cod or tilapia can also be used in its place, so don’t sweat it. As long as you use a fresh, flaky white fish, you will be fine. This is an easy one-pot dish that is tasty and comforting for the cooler months. Versatility-wise, this dish has options, doable in a standard cast iron pan, traditional casserole pan or in individual ramekins if you want to step it up a notch. Any way you make it, this dish is sure to please any and all fish-lovers.
Gratin of Haddock with Zucchini and Tomato
- 6 new potatoes, cleaned and sliced into 1/4-inch slices
- 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin olive oil
- Kosher or coarse salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 3 zucchini, grated
- 1 large tomato, sliced
- 2/3 cup plain panko bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 1-1/2 pounds haddock (or cod, tilapia or other firm white fish), in 8 pieces.
- Step 1 Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Step 2 Place the sliced potatoes on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt. Using your hands, toss lightly to coat. Place in the oven and roast until tender, about 20 minutes. Set aside.
- Step 3 In a small bowl, add the panko crumbs, butter and parsley, mix well to incorporate and set aside.
- Step 4 Seasoning the haddock with salt and pepper and place near your work station.
- Step 5 Using a 10-inch cast iron skillet or saucepan, layer the roast potatoes out on the bottom covering it completely. Next, sprinkle the grated zucchini over the potatoes and lightly season with salt and pepper. Place the fish on top of the zucchini. Lay the sliced tomatoes over the fish. Sprinkle the panko-parlsey mixture over the tomatoes.
- Step 6 Place the pan to the oven and cook until fish flakes with a fork and topping is golden, about 30 minutes. Serve hot.