Pikilia gemista

AT A GLANCE

  • Serves 4 people

  • 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
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.

Recipe:

GEORGE CALOMBARIS

Photography:

TARA FISHER

Drinking Suggestion:

A LEAFY XINOMAVRO, SUCH AS THE 2006 KIR-YIANNI AKAKIES FROM NAOUSSA. , suggested by ANDREW PHILLPOT

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