WHAT IS AU GRATIN?
Au Gratin is a French culinary technique in which the ingredients are placed in an oven-proof baking dish and are covered with a topping consisting of breadcrumbs, grated cheeses, egg, cream, and/or butter. The topping is then browned by baking in the oven or under a broiler.
In the French language this dish, Zucchini and Yellow Squash Au Gratin is translated, “Courgettes et Courges Jaunes Gratinées”. The word gratin actually derives from the French word “gratter”, meaning “to grate”. It refers to the browned crust that is formed on the top of this dish from baking or broiling. Some think that gratin has to have breadcrumbs but that is not the case. My recipe for Gratin Dauphinois is basically sliced potatoes, cream, and cheese with no breadcrumbs at all. Whether it has toppings or not and browned, it can be considered “au gratin”.