In mid-summer the price of zucchini in Bishkek drops to a paltry $0.25 per kilo. I buy bags upon bags of the pale green gourds and lug them up our five flights of stairs. We have zoodles and salads and omelets and zucchini bread and shredded zucchini in scrambled eggs for breakfast. The great part about this vegetable is that it owns such a subtle flavor that it can compliment almost anything, or beef up dishes with stronger components. This dish is for my lasagna-loving husband, as the juices from the sausage seep down to give the otherwise light casserole a hearty, spicy bite. Prep time is minimal, and the leftovers can lend themselves to breakfast or lunch for the following day, making this an ideal weeknight dish.
1 large or two small zucchini, thinly sliced. If you are using a fat zucchini, cut it lengthwise, and then slice, so you have thin half circles.
4 eggs, beaten
Salt and pepper to taste – white pepper adds a nice accent to zucchini
2-4″ of garlic sausage (sucuk, Italian sausage, or another hard sausage with strong flavor)
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
4 cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1/2 cup (125 ml) cheese, grated; either a mild white cheese, or a cheese that compliments your chosen spices
1 tsp each of three spices or herbs of choice (oregano, cumin, red pepper, paprika, garam masala, thyme, basil, or whatever you have on hand that would add a nice dimension to the dish and matches your choice of cheese)
Pre-heat the oven to 350/175C and oil a glass casserole dish
Beat the eggs with the salt and pepper
Arrange one layer of sliced zucchini in the dish as you would apple slices for a French tart
Sprinkle one of your spices over the layer of zucchini
Cover with a thin layer of the beaten eggs
Repeat, using a different spice for each layer of the zucchini.
Sprinkle the cheese over the zucchini and egg
Cut thin slices of sausage
Arrange the slices of sausage and cherry tomatoes on top of the cheese
Sprinkle minced garlic over the dish
Cook for 25-30 minutes at 350, and then broil for 5 minutes, until the cheese just starts to brown
Let sit for at least 5 minutes before serving
Serve with a sprig of parsley, a dollop of Greek yogurt or sour cream, and crusty bread wrapped in tin foil and heated in the oven while the flan is cooling