In France they have the ratatouille, but in Spain we have pisto Manchego, which is a great vegetable stew, pimped up with Iberian ham and a poached egg!
- 1 small eggplant, cut into 2.5 cm (1 inch) pieces (see Note)
- 1 small leek
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 1 tsp whole black peppercorn
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tbsp + 1 tsp (45 ml) olive oil
- 1 small red onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 red capsicum (bell pepper), chopped
- 1 green capsicum (bell pepper), chopped
- 1 small zucchini, chopped
- 2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
- 1 tsp fresh chopped oregano
- ½ tsp cumin
- 1 tsp paprika
- 2 eggs
- 110 g (4 oz) of Iberico ham, shaved (see Note)
- Fresh bread, to serve
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.
Sitting time: 15 minutes.
1. To tenderise the eggplant and remove any bitterness, place chopped eggplant into a colander and season generously with salt. Let rest for 15 minutes, then rinse the eggplant and reserve.
2. Remove the outer two layers of the leek and reserve. Slice leek into 10 cm lengths.
3. To make a bouquet garni, press the thyme, rosemary, peppercorns and bay leaf into the centre of one leek outer layer and fold the leek closed around it. Wrap the second layer of leek around the first and tie them together using butcher twine. Set aside.
4. In a skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add onion, garlic and capsicum and cook, while stirring, for 3-4 minutes, until capsicum softens. Stir in the reserved eggplant and zucchini, and continue cooking for 4-5 minutes.
5. Using a cheese grater, grate the tomatoes into the pan. Stir in the oregano, cumin, paprika and bouquet garni. Continue cooking for 5-6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
6. Using the back of a spoon, create two wells in the vegetables. Gently crack one egg into each well and continue cooking for 4-5 minutes, until egg whites are solid but yolks are still runny (or as desired).
7. Remove the bouquet garni from the pisto. Serve warm, garnished with ham and with bread on the side.
• Tigreton’s tip for cutting eggplant is to use a bread knife – the thick skins will blunt normal knives, he says.
• If you can’t get jamon, use prosciutto or a good Australian ham.