Serves: 4 - Time:
Thinly sliced baked vegetables is what this is–but doesn’t it sound better in French, naturellement. This is so simple with no adornments save some herbs –it really allows the flavour of the vegetables to shine through. You don’t have to arrange the vegetables in the same way –if you’re short of time you can lay them flat in the dish. Also, I don’t expect you will have the exactly the same number of slices per vegetable –it’s a rough guide so doubling up a few slices won’t ruin the dish.
- 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 small onions, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 2 medium-sized aubergines, topped and tailed
- 420g courgettes, (1 large or 2 small), topped and tailed
- 8 tomatoes
- 3 bay leaves
- 10 sprigs fresh thyme
- Heat the oven to 200˚c, fan oven 180˚, mark 6. Put 2 tablespoons of the oil in a saucepan and add the onions and a pinch of salt. Stir over a moderate heat for 10 minutes until the onions are lightly coloured and softened. Add the garlic and continue to cook for a further 5-6 minutes. Take off the heat and spoon into a square or rectangular ovenproof dish.
- Cut the aubergines and courgettes into 2-3 mm thick slices. Slice the tomatoes into thin rounds, roughly the same thickness as the vegetables. Stack the aubergines, courgettes and tomatoes alternately in the dish, on their sides. You need to pack them in fairly tightly so they maintain their shape on cooking. Season the vegetables really well with salt and ground black pepper. Remove the leaves from ¾ of the thyme sprigs and scatter over the vegetables. Tuck the rest in along with the bay leaves. Drizzle over the remaining 3 tablespoons oil.
- Bake in the oven for about 30-40 minutes. The cooking time will depend on your dish. Mine was enamel so the vegetables cooked more quickly than they would in an earthenware dish. It is best served warm or at room temperature so leave for 15-20 minutes before eating.