Saturday, October 29, 2016

pot of wonder

It all began with a bowl standing on the kitchen table. Crowded vegetables peeped out from it. And one lemon, and few avocados, they also peeped from a crowd. The bowl with crowded vegetables stood on the kitchen table. It stood there for days. It’s not a secret that vegetables are magical. One afternoon, late summer afternoon, bowl magically turned into a pot of wonder.
And this is what happens almost each time when we look long enough in all these bowls, booths, shelves, buckets crowded with fruits, vegetables.. only magic changes. 

Involtini my way ~ Stuffed eggplant and zucchini bathing together in tomato sauce  

2 eggplant (big)
1 zucchini (big)
7-8 baby leeks
1l tomato juice (homemade preferable) 
1l hot water
1 sweet potato (big)
3tbsp Crème fraîche
2 handfuls fresh chopped parsley
sunflower oil 
mature cheddar 
salt, pepper, sugar

I admit, preparation time for this dish is not minimal but some things can be done in advance, so don't be alarmed. Also, it's been confirmed by one person of having one of the most hilarious dreams after eating this dish. Sleeping on a potato is quite an experience?! You never know when magic ends. If you are creative enough it can be permanent.


Preheat oven to 200C.
Peel sweet potato and slice it into small cubes (about 2cm). Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Spread potatoes in a single layer on prepared baking sheet and drizzle with oil evenly and sprinkle with salt. Bake until potatoes are golden brown and tender, about 30 minutes. Leave to cool.

While potatoes are in the oven, you can prepare eggplants and zucchini for a hot grill. 
Cut eggplants and zucchini lengthwise into tin slices (about 3mm thick), sprinkle generously with salt and leave to drain at least 20 minutes.

Trim the ends and roots of the baby leeks and wash them carefully. Chop them finely and put into a large frying pan with 2-3 tbsp of oil. Fry leeks over moderate heat until tender and slightly colored. Add a tsp of sugar and stir. Add tomato juice, hot water and bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer and cook for  about 20-30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Before brushing eggplant and zucchini slices on both sides with oil, make sure they are dry (remove extra liquid with kitchen paper towels). Place nonstick pan or ridged cast-iron over medium-high heat. Working in batches, grill eggplants and zucchini slices, turning them until soft and (if using a ridged cast-iron) crisscrossed with grid marks. Set aside and leave to cool.

Make stuffing. Place baked sweet potato in a blander together with crème fraîche and blend until smooth. 

Spread eggplant and zucchini slices on a surface, and place about 1 to 2 teaspoons at one end of each slice. Roll up slices tightly to secure filling, and place on a plate.

It's finally time for heavy machinery. They’re big and they’re heavy but they are the best. Enameled cast iron pots!  
Place about 200ml of tomato sauce in the bottom of the pot. Place rolls in a single layer and spoon again about 300ml of tomato sauce. Sprinkle chopped parsley and repeat layers, rolls, sauce, parsley and top with tin slices of mature cheddar.

Bake in a preheated oven (200C) for about 30 minutes.