Gratin of Grated Zucchini

2 pounds zucchini (6 to 8, 8-inches long)
½ teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons chopped shallots or scallions
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Squeezed out water from zucchini plus milk to make 1½ cups
2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
4 Tablespoons grated Swiss cheese

Scrub zucchini under cold water; shave off the two ends, but do not peel. Grate the zucchini; toss with ½ teaspoon salt in a colander. Let steep for a few minutes. Then twist by handfuls in the corner of a paper towel to remove excess liquid—you'll be surprised at the amount of liquid! Save the squeezed out juices.

Heat the butter to foaming in a large nonstick skillet. Add the shallots or scallions, then the zucchini. Toss over high heat for several minutes, just until tender. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Set aside to make the sauce.

Preheat oven to 400º F.

Add enough milk to the squeezed out juices to produce 1½ cups liquid. Heat in the microwave until hot, about 2 minutes. Melt butter in saucepan. Add flour and stir until well blended. Whisk in the hot liquid. Continue whisking until mixture has thickened and is smooth. Add salt (try ½ teaspoon) and freshly ground pepper to taste. Fold in the sautéed zucchini. Turn it into a butter baking and serving dish. Top with grated Swiss cheese. Bake in a preheated 400º F oven for 20 minutes or until bubbling hot and lightly browned. Yield: 6 servings.