Greek cuisine finds its best expression when simple, humble ingredients are turned into magnificent dishes of exquisite culinary greatness. Nature has a magic way of creating unique flavours when left to work on its own, with just a little help from a talented and experienced cook. This is a typical Greek vegan dish called Tourlou, meaning “mixed”, or Briam, according to the Turkish version, and it is a perfect manifestation of Mediterranean magic.
As you can see from the list of ingredients, we use only seasonal, fresh vegetables, but sometimes we can be a little mischievous and add a little something that will sweeten things up, like some leeks.
The trick is to chop the vegetables depending on the time they need to be cooked, since what we really want is all of them to be cooked to perfection in the same time.The wine releases the juices of the vegetables in a beautiful conundrum that will later become the ideal companion to a loaf of rustic bread and a hefty block of feta cheese.
Briam – Greek Vegetable Bake
6 medium courgettes, sliced (1 cm)
3 to 4 aubergines, sliced (1 cm) & cut into pieces
3 onions, sliced rounds (½ cm)
1 leek, sliced (½ cm)
4 to 5 potatoes (with their skins), thinly sliced (3 mm)
2 green peppers, sliced (½ cm)
4 to 5 tomatoes, sliced (½ cm)
2 to 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced (optional)
400 g tomato sauce, or fresh grated
½ cup olive oil
½ cup white wine
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon Szechuan pepper
1 teaspoon curry
black pepper, freshly ground
1. Preheat the oven to 180℃ (350℉).
2. Mix all the sliced vegetables in a large roasting pan. Add the tomato sauce, Szechuan pepper, curry, sugar, olive oil, white wine, salt and pepper. Mix to coat the vegetables.
3. Place the roasting pan in the middle of the oven and roast for 1 hour. Then, with the oven still set to 180℃ (350℉) continue cooking but stir the vegetables carefully every twenty minutes until they become brown and crunchy along their edges (how long you must do this depends on the vegetables that day).
4. Turn the oven to grill and grill the vegetables for the last 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.
5. Serve with fresh farmers bread.
Serves 6 to 8