Come spring and summer, I crave colorful and bright dishes incorporating all sorts of vegetables. This dish is abundant with them, all bursting with color. Here, red peppers, yellow peppers, red onions, zucchini, and eggplant are first roasted then baked to golden perfection under a blanket of milky batter that is poured on their tops. This deliciousness is then sprinkled with Parmesan cheese and fresh herbs. Delicious! This is spring and summer right there, on your plate.
I like to serve this bake as an appetizer or just as a light side dish to go with carnivorous main dishes. Serve as you like.
Roasted Vegetables Baked in Golden Batter
Adapted from One-Pot, Slow-Pot and Clay-Pot Cooking, by Jenni Fleetwood
I have adjusted the amounts of ingredients in the recipe and generously tweaked the directions and added my own notes. If you do not have zucchini, you can use eggplants instead, or vice versa. No yellow bell peppers? Use orange instead.
1 small eggplant, trimmed, halved and thickly sliced
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups milk
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves or 2 teaspoons dried
1 red onion
2 medium zucchini (you can substitute with eggplants if not available)
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and black pepper, to taste
Fresh herbs of choice, to garnish (I used baby parsley from my garden)
Prepare the batter: In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, flour, milk and thyme, salt and pepper to taste, until you obtain smooth paste with no lumps. Place the batter in a cool place until needed.
Place the eggplant in a colander and sprinkle generously with salt. Leave aside for 10 minutes to allow the bitter juices to extract. Rinse well and pat dry on paper towels.
Heat the oven to 400F (205C).
Cut the onion into thin wedges. Slice the zucchini. Seed and quarter the peppers. Place all the vegetables on a 13 X 10-inch (33 cm X 25 cm) baking pan. Pour the olive oil on top. Toss with your hands to coat the vegetables with oil. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, until the vegetables are slightly roasted.
Remove from the oven. Give the milky batter enough whisk, then pour it over the vegetables and return to the oven for 30-35 minutes, or until the batter is slightly puffed up and golden and the edges are crisp. Remove from the oven. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and fresh herbs. Allow to cool slightly. Cut into squares. Use a sturdy spatula to release the squares from the pan as they are rather fragile. Serve warm or at room temperature.