Summer Vegetable Cassoulet With Crispy Gruyère
Classic, meaty French cassoulet can take several shopping trips and days of preparation. But this summer-vegetable “cassoulet” requires only a spin through the produce section and a bit of free time. Instead of the traditional sausage and duck leg confit, this version skips meat altogether in favor of spiced eggplant, tomato, green beans, and big white beans cooked with plenty of extra-virgin olive oil, fresh herbs, and garlic. And rather than traditional breadcrumbs, Gruyère, baked until golden and crisp, then crumbled over, adds texture, depth, and plenty of umami (plus they’re just plain fun). Vegetarians can skip the optional anchovy paste, but if you haven’t explored this ingredient, it’s incomparable for adding flavor. —Christian Reynoso
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lb. globe or Japanese eggplants, peeled in alternating strips, cut into 2″ pieces
tsp. fennel seeds
tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
tsp Diamond Crystal or ½ tsp. Morton kosher salt, plus more
Freshly ground black pepper
lb. haricots verts or green beans, trimmed
oil-packed anchovy fillets (optional)
garlic cloves, thinly sliced
cup dry white wine
Tbsp. tomato paste
pint cherry tomatoes
15-oz. can butter or corona beans, rinsed
cups coarsely chopped parsley
cup coarsely chopped marjoram or oregano
Tbsp. thyme leaves
oz. Gruyère or Comté cheese, coarsely grated
Place racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat to 425°. Toss eggplant, fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, 6 Tbsp. oil, and 1 tsp. Diamond Crystal or ½ tsp. Morton kosher salt in a 3-qt. or 13×9″ baking dish; season with black pepper. Roast on bottom rack, tossing halfway through, until golden and tender, 25–30 minutes. Let cool.
Meanwhile, heat remaining 1 Tbsp. oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium-high. Add haricots verts, season with salt, and cook, tossing every minute or so, until they start to release moisture and steam, about 5 minutes. Add anchovies, garlic, wine, and tomato paste and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon or heatproof rubber spatula to break up paste, 1 minute. Add ¾ cup water, cover pot, and cook until haricots verts are crisp-tender, 5–7 minutes.
Add cherry tomatoes and butter beans, re-cover pot, and cook until tomatoes start to burst, 5–7 minutes. Remove pot from heat, uncover, and stir in parsley, marjoram, and thyme.
While the beans and tomatoes are cooking, spread Gruyère out on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake on top rack until melted and almost done bubbling and golden, 8–10 minutes (check often). Let cool.
Using a slotted spoon, scoop tomato and bean mixture over and around eggplant in baking dish, arranging so everything is nestled together but eggplant isn’t completely covered. Pour liquid left in pot over. Remove crispy Gruyère from parchment and crumble on top of cassoulet.