I love smoked cheese.
Well, more like I love anything that is smoked.
Give me some smoked pork ribs or some of that Italian smoked prosciutto called “speck”, and I’m one happy camper.
But my heart lies with smoked cheese. Smoked cheddar, smoked gouda or queso idiazabal get my motor running.
In fact, I seldom buy them because they are just too tempting. Once I start, I can't stop eating them.
When I was a kid, my sis had to wrestle the knife out of my hand or I’d happily eat the whole slab of smoked cheddar, piece by piece.
Sometimes I would even hide the piece of cheese in the refrigerator - under a head of lettuce or something - and deny any knowledge of how it got there - if my mum would later discover it.
Here’s the thing about smoked cheese, it tastes like meat. Seriously.
Once I made (GF) Mac & Cheese using smoked gouda, and I swear my friends asked me if I had put bacon it.
Something to keep in mind for those vegetarians that may miss the flavor of bacon.
Throw some smoked cheese in and you’re halfway there to the real thing.
Do you know that you can actually smoke cheese on your BBQ? For real.
All you need is a soldering iron, a tin can and hardwood chips.
I would love to try it as well - even if that sounds a bit too MacGyverish to me - but something tells me not to. You know, I might burn down the house or something like that — talking about smoking everything.
Better to walk a couple of blocks to Murray’s to get me some of their amazing maple leaf smoked Gouda.
Okay, onto this casserole.
This is like the perfect dish to whip up during the summer when your garden’s too prolific or when you buy too much summer produce at the farmers’ market (e.g., zucchini and tomatoes).
Roasted zucchini are layered with caramelized tomatoes and smoked cheese.
What’s there not to love?
This irresistible casserole is a nice vegetarian dish on its own or can be a great side to grilled fish or meat.
Trust me, this recipe is always a hit. In fact, I usually have to double it all the time, and still there are no leftovers.
Roasted Tomato, Zucchini and Smoked Cheese Casserole Print this recipe!
3 medium zucchini
3 large tomatoes
12 slices good tasting smoked cheese (such as Gouda, Cheddar or Scamorza)
½ teaspoon thyme
½ teaspoon oregano
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
½ tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, divided
Ground black pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C) and place a rack in the middle. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Wash the zucchini, cut the ends off and slice into ¼-inch thick rounds.
Place zucchini rounds in a large bowl, sprinkle with thyme, ½ teaspoon salt, ground black pepper and drizzle with one tablespoon of olive oil. Toss until they’re evenly coated.
Arrange zucchini rounds onto the lined baking sheet, taking care not to overlap them (if they don’t fit onto 1 baking sheet, use 2.)
Roast in the oven for about 10 minutes until they start to lightly brown. Remove and set aside.
Wash tomatoes and slice into ½-inch thick slices and arrange them onto the remaining lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with oregano, garlic, remaining ½ teaspoon of salt, pepper and drizzle with remaining tablespoon of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Roast in the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes, until the tomatoes are concentrated and beginning to caramelize. Remove and set aside.
Lightly grease the bottom of 4 ramekins (or a 2-quart baking dish).
Cover the bottom of each ramekin with one tomato slice, then 4 zucchini rounds and top with one slice of cheese.
Repeat to make 3 layers (or stop at 2 if they don’t fit into the ramekins) making sure to end with a slice of cheese.
Bake in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes, until the cheese is bubbling.
One serving yields 267 calories, 19 grams of fat, 9 grams of carbs and 15 grams of protein.