Simple ingredients are transformed into a fragrant summer dish with a Greek twist. Briam pairs beautifully with crusty bread and a wedge of feta cheese for an appetiser, or as a side for fish or meat.
- 700 g (1½ lbs) zucchini, sliced into 8 mm rounds
- 3 red onions, sliced into 12mm rounds or crescents
- 700 g (1½ lbs) small white potatoes
- 3 large capsicum
- 1 tbsp (heaped) dried oregano or ⅓ cup chopped fresh oregano
- ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
- ⅔ cup extra virgin Greek olive oil
- 5 cloves garlic
- coarse sea salt and pepper, to taste
- 6-8 plum tomatoes or 2-3 large ripe tomatoes, chopped
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Draining time: 1 hour
1. Place the zucchini in layers in a large colander, salting lightly between each layer. Place in the sink or inside a larger bowl. Place a kitchen towel over the zucchini and a weight, such as cans, over the towel to press down and drain the zucchini. Let it stand for at least an hour and up to eight. Pat dry.
2. Lightly oil a large ovenproof glass or ceramic baking pan. Place all the vegetables except the tomatoes in a large mixing bowl and toss with the herbs, olive oil and a generous sprinkling of coarse salt and pepper.
3. Preheat the oven to 170°C (350°F). Place all the vegetables except the tomatoes in alternating pieces in neat rows, one snugly next to the other. Using a rubber spatula, scrape out any oil and herbs or other liquid from the mixing bowl and pour over the vegetables. Strew the chopped tomatoes over the surface of the vegetable rows. If desired, drizzle a little more olive oil over the top.
4. Cover with a piece of wax or parchment paper, then aluminum foil and bake in the middle of the oven for about 40 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft but the potatoes still likely to be al dente. Remove the paper and foil and continue baking the briam until most of the pan liquid has evaporated and the surface of the vegetables is lightly charred (you can put the casserole under the grill to achieve this, if desired).
5. Remove, cool slightly, and serve, drizzled with more olive oil. The briam is great at room temperature, too.