Of tomatoes and vegetables | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 05, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, May 05, 2020

Of tomatoes and vegetables

GAZPACHO

While summer is here already, some of us may still crave a bowl of heart-warming soup. As the weather is already too warm to devour a hot bowl of soup, this recipe features the ultimate cold soup, perfect for May. Gazpacho is a cold soup originating from Andalusia, Spain. It is equally delicious and refreshing, loaded with tomatoes and other hydrating ingredients.

Ingredients

1 red beefsteak tomato

1 green beefsteak tomato

½ red bell pepper

½ green bell pepper

1 medium cucumber

1 small onion

2 loaves stale bread

1 cup cold water

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp chopped mint leaves

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp salt  

½ tsp ground cumin

½ tsp crushed black pepper

Method

Cut the loaves of bread into small cubes and soak them in water for 5 minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. Pour cold water in a blender and add roughly chopped bell peppers, tomatoes, mint leaves, peeled and diced cucumber, and onion. Then, squeeze the water out of the soaked bread and add it in along with salt, cumin, and black pepper and give it a whiz. After 30 seconds, remove the vapour cover of the blender lid and pour in olive oil and balsamic vinegar while it is still on. This will emulsify the gazpacho and give it a creamy texture. Serve it cold in a bowl topped with freshly chopped mint and tomatoes. You can also serve this with herby croutons. 

SHAKSHUKA

Shakshuka is a popular breakfast and brunch item in Israel and other parts of the world. Debates still rage over whether it originated from North Africa or the Middle East. Wherever the origin though, it has become a popular dish all over the world because it is amazing how such a scrumptious dish can be so easy to put together.

Ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil

1 medium onion

2 cloves garlic

1 red bell pepper

1 can diced tomatoes

2 tbsp tomato paste

1 tsp paprika powder

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp salt

½ tsp crushed black pepper

½ tsp chilli flakes

½ tsp sugar

3 eggs

1 tbsp fresh parsley

Method

In a non-stick pan, heat olive oil and add finely chopped onions and garlic. Sauté them until fragrant and add tomato paste and sliced bell pepper. Once slightly cooked, incorporate canned tomatoes and stir for a couple of minutes. Next, add in all the spices one by one and let this mixture cook. After 5 minutes, make three small indents on three sides with the help of the back of a spoon and crack eggs on them individually. Cover with a lid and cook for 10-15 minutes on medium heat. Once the eggs are fully cooked, remove the lid, turn off the heat and sprinkle with fresh, chopped parsley. You can serve this with naan or pita bread.

RATATOUILLE

If you have ever watched Disney Pixar's movie Ratatouille, you may have wondered at some point how this lip-smacking dish is made that let an ordinary chef attain tremendous recognition in the culinary world! Well, this French dish isn't as complicated to make as it may seem. In fact, the ingredients are basic and no fancy techniques are required.

Ingredients

1 Italian eggplant

2 Roma tomatoes

1 medium zucchini

1 carrot

2 small potatoes

For the sauce —

1 cup tomato purée

1 red bell pepper

2 medium onions

2 cloves garlic

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp fresh parsley

1 tbsp fresh basil

½ tsp chilli powder

½ tsp crushed black pepper

½ tsp sugar 

For the dressing —

3 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp salt

1 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp dried rosemary

½ tsp crushed black pepper

Method

First, preheat the oven to 160⁰ C for 10 minutes. To make the sauce, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan and sauté finely chopped onions and garlic until translucent, and add in diced red bell pepper.

Sauté for a couple of minutes and pour in the tomato purée. Then, add 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon crushed black pepper, chilli powder, and sugar. Stir to combine and finally add in the fresh herbs after turning off the heat. Purée this mixture in a blender, when it is slightly cooled, to get a smooth paste.

To make the dressing, combine 3 tablespoons of olive oil, ½ a teaspoon of crushed black pepper, and 1 teaspoon each of dried thyme, rosemary, and salt.

 Slice the eggplant, zucchini, potatoes, and carrot using a mandolin, except the tomatoes, as they must be sliced using a knife. All of the vegetables should be of the same thickness. To assemble, start by spreading the puréed tomato mixture on the base of a baking dish or casserole. Then, create the single layer of vegetables by placing and overlapping the vegetables in a fixed pattern. They should be loosely packed. Finally, pour in the olive oil dressing on top. Wrap the top with aluminium foil and roast for about 40 minutes. Then remove the cover and roast for an additional 30 minutes. You can serve this as a side dish, or with carbs of your choice.   

 

By Fariha Amber 

Photo: Fariha Amber

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