Monday, September 9, 2013

Vegetable Casserole

vegetable casserole, confit byaldi recipe

This rustic, Provencal casserole is a variation of confit byaldi, which is a variation of ratatouille. Be prepared to spend a bit of extra time in the kitchen with this recipe with the assurance that your efforts will be rewarded with a nutritious, robustly flavored dish. The dish is really 5 mini recipes which come together magically.

Grape tomatoes are roasted with olive oil, oregano and thyme, coming out of the oven fragrant, sweet and blistered. They, along with eggplant, onion, sage rosemary and balsamic vinegar are sauteed and then put though a food processor to create a chunky eggplant relish. 

Fennel is braised with white wine, onion, orange juice and orange zest.  The fennel and eggplant relish are then layered in a large casserole dish with zucchini, yellow squash, sauteed eggplant and roasted red pepper.

The casserole is baked until the vegetables are heated through and tender. Last comes a topping of bread crumbs, herbs and Parmesan cheese which becomes crispy and brown after a brief visit under the broiler. 

Vegetable Casserole

oven roasted tomatoes:
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
2 T olive oil
2 sprigs thyme
1 sprig oregano
salt and freshly ground pepper

eggplant relish:
3 T olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 small eggplant, cubed {about 2 c}
1/4 t salt
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 t balsamic vinegar
1 t + 1/2 t chopped fresh sage
1 t + 1/2 t chopped fresh rosemary
pinch of cayenne pepper

braised fennel
1 T olive oil
2 T diced onion
1 medium fennel bulb, diced
1 t freshly grated orange zest
2 T freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 c dry white wine
1/4 t salt
1/8 t freshly ground black pepper

1 c jarred roasted red pepper, sliced into thin strips
1 small eggplant, thinly sliced
1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
1 medium yellow squash, thinly sliced
1/2 t salt
2 T olive oil

3/4 c grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 c bread crumbs {pulse stale white French bread or whole wheat in a food processor}
1 garlic clove, mashed
2 t chopped fresh oregano
2 t chopped fresh thyme

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and add tomatoes and herbs. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake 10 minutes, stir and bake until tomatoes are blistered, about 10 more minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

To prepare the eggplant relish, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, eggplant and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent and eggplant begins to brown. Add the tomatoes and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes. Transfer to a food processor, add the remaining relish ingredients and pulse a few times to create a chunky consistency. Set aside.

To prepare the braised fennel, wipe out the skillet with a paper towel and heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and fennel and saute until just tender. Add the remaining braised fennel ingredients and cook until no liquid remains, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

To prepare the casserole, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a flat work surface with paper towels or a clean kitchen towel. Spread sliced vegetables in a single layer and sprinkle with salt. Let sit for 10 minutes then use paper towels or another kitchen towel to pat the moisture from the vegetable's surface. Set aside zucchini and squash. Wipe skillet with a paper towel and heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Saute the eggplant until tender and transfer to a plate. 

To assemble the casserole, lightly oil a shallow ceramic casserole pan. Arrange half the eggplant in a single layer on the bottom of the pan. Top with half the braised fennel and then half the eggplant relish. Fan half the squash, zucchini and roasted red pepper on top.  Repeat by layering remaining eggplant slices, braised fennel, eggplant relish and then remaining squash, zucchini and roasted red pepper. Cover with foil and bake until heated through, about 40 minutes.

While the casserole is baking, combine all the topping ingredients together in a bowl. Set aside.

When casserole is finished baking, remove from oven and turn on broiler. Sprinkle desired amount of Parmesan-bread crumb mixture on top of the casserole and broil, keeping constant watch, until topping is crisp and golden. Remove from broiler and let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 4.

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Source: Adapted from True Food.

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