Thursday, June 3, 2010

Vegging out.

I am a card carrying carnivore - but some of the people I love dearly...?  Not so much.  For those dear friends, I busted out the mandolin, grabbed a bunch of colorful veggies and came up with this dish.

Oven to 325
For the veggie bake;
One eggplant - medium sized
One large zucchini
Two fair sized tomatoes
one and a half bags of shredded mozzarella (more or less)
about a cup - cup and a half of Parmesan cheese
couple tablespoons of mixed herbs (I use herbs de Provence - my favorite go to herb blend)

For the sauce;
one large tomato, diced finely
several tablespoons of capers - they're salty so it's to taste
two garlic clove minced to within an inch of it's life...

For the veggie bake;
Using the mandolin (carefully - I've got a nasty scar from the time I nearly split my finger in two lengthwise with mine.  Sucks.  I don't recommend it.) slice the eggplant first - have a bowl of salted water handy, and drop the slices in the salt water as you go along.  Eggplant can have a bit of bitterness to them, briefly soaking them in the salt water tends to make it go away.
Slice up the zucchini and tomatoes as well - thin uniform slices of everything.  You can peel the vegetables prior to slicing if you like, but I don't - I find it looks and tastes better if you leave the skin in tact. Once everything is sliced set it aside for a moment.

In a large bowl, mix together the cheeses and the herb mix - I do this to make it easier when you start to assemble the dish, of course you don't have to.

In a oven proof baking dish (round casserole, or lasagna pan or some such) arrange the veg in layers, each slice over lapping the next and alternate the layers with the cheese.  For example, a layer of eggplant, then zucchini then cheese then tomato - like you're building a lasagna, only with no noodles.

Make sure the top layer is cheese, it's one of the ways I use to gage if it's done - once the cheese starts to brown, the dish is probably finished.

So once you've finished building the dish, pop it in the preheated oven - with a lid if you have one - and let it bake for about half an hour.  If it starts to brown too fast turn the heat down to 300.

Once the top turns a nice golden brown, take the dish out of the oven and let it rest for a bit - at least 15 min or so.  It'll make it settle a bit and make it easier to cut into it.

For the sauce;
Pour a generous glug of olive oil in a pan, add the garlic and stir it up.  When the garlic becomes fragrant and starts to soften, add the tomato and sauté the whole thing for a couple min.  The tomatoes will start to soften - you don't want them to mush completely.  Toss in the capers and stir to mix.

Slice the veggie bake up just like you would a lasagna.  I'd suggest using a dish with higher sides (see the picture) to keep the sauce on the plate and not the diner!  Top with the tomato caper sauce and serve!

1 comment:

  1. mandolin!! *snicker*
    Chi you are making cooking look so fun. I've stopped because my family's tastes are so different from mine and I got tired of cooking for one, but you are inspiring me, and like everything else you do, making it look easy!