This briam is made with the last vegetables and the first olive oil of the season. Nikos, who has the best stall with greens and vegetables in the Friday open market, said that those were the last zucchinis of the year (he meant not grown in a greenhouse). Briam is 90% of times boring – to say the least. Vegetables cut in big slices, undercooked, not the best quality of olive oil… Any of that can ruin a dish that depends on the quality of the raw materials and on attention to detail during preparation.
We like our briam crunchy and thinly sliced.
Serves 4 as main dish, 8 as starter
- 600g small eggplants, halved lengthways and cut into 1cm slices
- 300g zucchinis, thinly sliced
- 350g onions, peeled and thinly sliced
- 200g red and yellow bell peppers, cut into 1,5cm slices
- 100g green bell peppers, cut into 1,5cm slices
- 250g potatoes, peeled and cut into thin wedges
- 100g small okra, ends trimmed, (optional)
- 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 250g very ripe tomatoes, blanched, peeled and pureed (or chopped canned tomatoes)
- 1 tsp sugar (optional, depending on the acidity of the tomatoes)
- 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes (optional)
- 2-3 pinches sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 cups warm water (or more if needed)
Preheat the oven to 180ºC (fan).
Place the sliced eggplants, zucchinis, onions, red and green peppers, okra (if using), garlic and parsley in a large baking pan. Add the pureed tomatoes with the sugar, the dried chilli flakes (if using), the salt (you can always add some more later if needed), 3/4 of the olive oil and 2 cups of warm water. Toss everything together.
Bake uncovered for 30 minutes and turn over with the aid of a large spatula. Bake for another 30 minutes before turning over once more. At this point add 1 more cup of warm water. Continue baking for about 20 minutes and then turn your oven grill to high temperature. Add the rest of the olive oil, some freshly ground black pepper, more salt to taste if needed and the last cup of water. Turn over for a last time and broil under the hot oven grill for 5-10 minutes if you like your briam crunchy on the top like we do!
You can keep it in the refrigerator well covered for 2-3 days and bring it to room temperature before serving.