Vegetables, Side Dishes & Salads

Vegetable MosaicNoreen & Marion

4 large onions (about 1 3/4 pounds), thinly sliced
2 heads fennel, green stems removed and feathery green tops reserved, bulbs halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
3/4 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary or 3/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crumbled
1/4 cup cider vinegar
3 zucchini (about 1 & 1/4 pound) cut diagonally into 1/4-inch slices
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano or 2 teaspoons dried oregano
6 ripe plum tomatoes
2 small eggplants (about 1 1/4 pounds) halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch slices
4 tablespoons virgin olive oil

Put the onions and fennel in a large heavy-bottomed casserole with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, some pepper and half the rosemary. Pour in the vinegar and 1/4 cup of water. Cook the vegetables over medium heat, scraping the bottom of the pan frequently to mix in any caramelized bits, until the vegetables are well browned, about 30-35 minutes.

While the onions and fennel are cooking, prepare the other vegetables.

Preheat the broiler.
Toss the zucchini slices in a bowl with the garlic, half of the oregano and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt.
Cut the tomatoes into slices 1/4-inch thick. Put the slices on a plate and sprinkle them with some pepper and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
Put the eggplant slices on a baking sheet and brush them with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Broil them 2-3-inches from the heat source until they are very brown, about 8 minutes.
Turn the eggplant slices and brush them with another tablespoon of the oil. Broil the slices on the second side until they are brown, about 6-7 minutes.
Set the oven temperature to 375 degrees.

Spread the browned onions and fennel in the bottom of a large, shallow baking dish.
Arrange the eggplant, zucchini and tomato slices on top of the onions. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the oil over the vegetables and cover the dish with aluminum foil, shiny side down.

Bake the vegetables for 25 minutes.

Remove the foil and drizzle the remaining tablespoon of oil over the top.
Continue to bake the vegetables, uncovered, until they are soft, about 20 minutes.
Sprinkle the vegetables with the remaining rosemary and oregano, and bake them for 10 minutes more.
Garnish the dish with the reserved fennel tops.

10 servings

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