12 Sep 2013
Friends, Romans, countrymen! We got the Smitten Kitchen cookbook for Christmas. I think I gave it to Eric. I can’t remember exactly, since it’s definitely been a gift for both of us. When I opened the book and saw elegant spirals of thin-sliced vegetables winding their way along even rows in a roasting pan like so many colorful dominos, I doubted that I could create anything that beautiful. But I was wrong! Mine may now have her classical form, but it’s still one of the prettiest things I’ve ever taken out of the oven.
The recipe is fairly simple, and quick as lightning if you have a mandoline (I cannot tell you how many times a week we use that thing–thank you, Amanda Lynn!) I knew Eric would be enthused about it, great lover of eggplant and red pepper and squash as he is. But first! Onions and tomatoes and spices! I’m just gonna go ahead and say that next time we make this, I am going to put this sauce in the bottom of the pan instead. It’s Smitten Kitchen’s red pepper steak sauce, and we have put it on meat, salads, pasta, and pizza…so far. It’s basically a win no matter what you do with it. Except maybe add it to peanut butter.
Here is what my little guys looked like pre-roasting. Not exactly a domino effect, but pretty enough for me! Any dish that has all the colors of a stoplight is a keeper.
After the initial layering, I added all my leftover zucchini slices on top, drizzled it with olive oil, and sprinkled it with fresh thyme, my favorite herb on earth.
We gently layered it onto crusty bread, slathered it with goat cheese, and ate it out on the balcony. Yum!
Look at my amazing bread cutting skills! I am basically a boss. If you are gluten free, this can easily be eaten on its own. It’s sort of an all-vegetable lasagna. I feel like getting into sixth grade book report mode, so here goes. In conclusion, definitely make this for dinner.
Fom The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
1 long thin zucchini
1 long thin yellow squash
1 long thin japanese eggplant
2 thin red bell peppers
½ yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 c tomato puree
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T olive oil
1½ t salt
¼ t red pepper flakes
1 T fresh thyme, chopped
1 long, thin french baguette
4 oz soft goat cheese
-Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the tomato puree, garlic, onion, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and red pepper flakes. Spread into the bottom of a 13 x 9 inch baking dish.
-Using a mandoline or sharp knife, cut the squash, eggplant, red pepper and zucchini into ⅛ inch slices.
-Arrange the sliced vegetables in layers over the tomato sauce. You may not need to use all the vegetables. Drizzle one tablespoon of olive oil over the veggies. Sprinkle ½ teaspoon salt and the thyme evenly over the top. Cover the dish with foil and place in the oven for 45 minutes. Once time is up, remove the foil, increase the temperature to 425 degrees and bake for an additional 15 minutes. The vegetables should be tender, but not mushy. Remove the dish from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
-Place the baguette in the oven to warm for 5 to 10 minutes. Once warm, cut in half lengthwise. Spread goat cheese on one side of the baguette. Using a long, thin spatula, pile layers of vegetables and sauce on the other side. Close the sandwich and cut into 4 to 6 portions. Serve immediately.