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Pikilia gemista

You'll need

  • 4
  • truss vine-ripened tomatoes, separated
  • 2
  • heirloom zucchini, halved lengthways, ends trimmed (see note)
  • 2
  • Japanese eggplant, halved diagonally
  • 1 tbsp
  • extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  •  
  • Eggplant stuffing
  • 2
  • red capsicum
  • 2 tbsp
  • olive oil
  • ½
  • onion, finely chopped
  • 50 gm
  • brown sugar
  • 50 gm
  • small green lentils
  • ½
  • golden shallot
  • ¼
  • each carrot and celery stalk
  • ½
  • garlic clove
  • 3
  • sprigs thyme
  •  
  • Vegetable nage
  • ½
  • each onion, carrot and celery stalk
  • 1
  • garlic clove
  • 1
  • fresh bay leaf
  • ¼
  • bunch of thyme
  • 5
  • white peppercorns
  • 250 ml
  • white wine
  •  
  • Tomato stuffing
  • 2 tbsp
  • olive oil
  • ¼
  • onion, finely chopped
  • 50 gm
  • arborio rice
  • 75 gm
  • canned crushed tomatoes
  • 5
  • each dill and flat-leaf parsley sprigs, coarsely chopped
  • 1
  • lemon, finely grated rind only
  •  
  • Zucchini stuffing
  • 50 gm
  • canned chickpeas, drained
  • ¼
  • Spanish onion, finely chopped
  • 1
  • tomato, seeds removed, diced
  •  
  • Tomato dressing
  • 100 gm
  • canned crushed tomatoes
  • 10
  • basil leaves
  • ¼
  • Spanish onion

Method

  • 01
  • Cut tomatoes horizontally 1cm from tops (reserve tops). Hollow out with a spoon (reserve tomato membrane), turn upside down on absorbent paper and refrigerate until required. Lightly score zucchini and eggplant, season with sea salt, refrigerate until required.
  • 02
  • For eggplant stuffing, preheat oven to 200C. Roast capsicum in a roasting tray until skins blister (25-30 minutes). When cool enough to handle, peel (discard skin and seeds) and finely chop. Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat, add onion and sauté until transparent (5-10 minutes). Add capsicum and brown sugar and stir until caramelised (10-15 minutes). Meanwhile, combine lentils, shallot, carrot, celery, garlic and thyme in a saucepan, cover completely with cold water and cook over medium heat until lentils are tender (35-45 minutes). Strain, discard vegetables and herbs, then combine lentils with capsicum mixture and season to taste. Scrape out insides of eggplant with a spoon (discard flesh) then fill eggplant with lentil mix and set aside. Reduce oven to 180C.
  • 03
  • For vegetable nage, combine all ingredients except wine in a saucepan, add 1 litre of water and bring to boil over medium heat. Remove from heat, cool slightly, then add wine. Strain and set aside.
  • 04
  • Meanwhile, for tomato stuffing, heat olive oil in a saucepan. Add onion and cook over medium heat until translucent (5-10 minutes). Add rice, stirring to coat, and 280ml vegetable nage, cover and cook until rice is al dente (20-25 minutes). Add crushed tomato, herbs and lemon rind and season to taste. Cool, divide among prepared tomatoes and replace tomato tops. Set aside.
  • 05
  • Meanwhile, for zucchini stuffing, pulse chickpeas in a food processor until coarsely chopped and transfer to a bowl. Add onion and tomato and season to taste. Scrape out insides of prepared zucchini with a spoon and fill with chickpea mixture.
  • 06
  • For tomato dressing, combine reserved tomato membrane, crushed tomatoes, basil and onion in a blender and blend until smooth. Season to taste and set aside.
  • 07
  • Place all stuffed vegetables in a deep roasting pan, fill to 1cm deep with vegetable nage, drizzle with olive oil, cover with foil and roast until tender (15-20 minutes). Serve immediately, drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil, and tomato dressing spooned around.
Note If unavailable, you can substitute heirloom zucchini with small zucchini.

At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people
  • 1 hr 30 min preparation
  • 2 hrs 40 min cooking (plus cooling)
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people
  • 1 hr 30 min preparation
  • 2 hrs 40 min cooking (plus cooling)

Drink Suggestion

A leafy xinomavro, such as the 2006 Kir-Yianni Akakies from Naoussa.

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