> Lemon and Strawberries: Greek roasted vegetables (Briam)

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Greek roasted vegetables (Briam)

This is one of the dishes I've discovered after I moved to Greece two years ago. When I came here I've started researching recipes and asking people about food their mothers used to make. I wanted to learn how to cook "greek" and bring some of the traditional tastes to my new greek home.
As I found out, briam is a variation of another greek dish called "tourlou", or at least this is how it functions in my cookbook now.
Briam acquires taste in time, so usually I make enough for 2-3 days - and basically we could eat it everyday for a week and won't get bored with it.

  • 2-3 eggplants
  • 2-3 zucchinis
  • 1 big onion
  • 2-3 potatoes
  • 3-4 paprikas of different colors
  • 3 big tomatoes
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • oregano
  • salt, black pepper
  • feta cheese
Start with cutting eggplants in half and then slicing them. You need to ged rid of some of the bitterness they have, so put them in a bowl, sprinkle thoroughly with salt and set aside for about 20 minutes.  
Meanwhile peel onion, cut it in half and slice it. Preheat a pan with some olive oil and fry onions for few minutes, then add crushed garlic and take off the heat.
Cut zucchinis into slices (if they're big, cut them in half first) and put them aside. Clean potatoes, cut them into cubes and set them aside for later as well. Cut tomatoes into pieces, paprikas in stripes or cubes and set aside along with zucchinis and potatoes.

Now it's time to get eggplants prepared - preheat your oven to about 100°C (212°F). Sprinkle a big pan with olive oil. Wash your eggplants with cold water to remove the salt and juice they've released, strain well and place them flat on a pan you prepared. Sprinkle with more olive oil (eggplants soak it a lot!) and put them in the oven. Fry until they get golden-brown, it's fine even if they get a little dark.
I used to fry eggplants using regular pan on the stove, but making them in the oven is faster and you can use less olive oil, making the whole dish a little less heavy.

After your eggplants are ready take them out, set your oven to 190°C (374°F) and start putting layers of vegetables on a big pan.
First layer the potatoes, sprinkle them with salt, pepper, some oregano and olive oil. Then add a layer of zucchinis, sprinkle with spices as well. Make next layer with paprikas, add oregano, salt, pepper. Then comes eggplants, more oregano, tomatoes and onions with garlic. Sprinkle everything with more olive oil and add about 2 glasses of water.

Bake for about 2 hours - until potatoes are cooked and soft, but maintain the shape. You can cover the pan with aluminum foil (matt side out) to speed up the process. Check your briam once in a while and add more water if necessary.
Serve warm with fresh bread and feta cheese on the side or sprinkled on top of the dish.


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