Happy New Year! The holidays have been crazy busy for us, but I am very excited to get back to blogging and our daily routine! Now I’m ready for some exciting new dishes to kick off the new year. My New Year’s Resolution? Learn to use all of the awesome new photography gear from Santa, and share some great food photography with you. I know I have a lot to learn, but I can’t wait to get started.
I have always associated Spanish food with special occasions. Significant birthdays, out of town visitors or a special lunch while home from college were celebrated at Emilio’s, a Chicago-area tapas restaurant. We always ordered the same dishes: the intensely garlicky potato salad, bacon wrapped dates, and my favorite, pisto. Pisto is a Spanish vegetable casserole that resembles ratatouille. Packed with veggies and olive oil, it is delicious on its own, or as a slathered topping on crusty bread. Add some Spanish ham, some olives and sangria, and you can make your own tapas night at home. This version is pretty healthy, but adding more olive oil never hurts.
I’ve seen so many variations of pisto recipes that I don’t have a feel for what is authentic. Many recipes top it with a fried egg, the variety of veggies changes and some even include potatoes. This version is my attempt at recreating a favorite restaurant dish, but feel free to customize as you like. A few olives would be delicious, or even add that fried egg to make it into a balanced meal. It can be a juicier stew-like dish or cooked down into more of a spread. It takes me over an hour of simmering and stirring to get it nice and thick, but I think it is worth the time. You need to plan ahead for this dish – peeling the peppers, prepping the veggies and the cooking time make this a lot more effort than my usual recipes. But seriously, it is worth the effort.
Note: The skin of cooked peppers can be hard to digest and are not very attractive in this dish, so I remove them using this fabulous tutorial from The Kitchn. Feel free to skip this step if pepper skins don’t bother you, or do this ahead of time. Also, I salt the eggplant for this recipe, which is an added step. Salting is supposed to help remove some of the bitterness, I think it also helps prevent the eggplant from soaking up all of the olive oil like a sponge.
- 1 red bell pepper, skin removed and diced small
- 1 yellow bell pepper, skin removed and diced small
- 3 medium zucchini, diced small
- 1 medium eggplant, diced small
- 1 large onion, chopped finely
- ½ pint grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 teaspoon of salt, plus more to taste
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves of garlic, pressed
- ½ cup white wine
- ⅓ cup finely chopped parsley
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- In a large colander, toss diced eggplant with 1 teaspoon of salt. Mix it together with your hands and wait at least 15 minutes, or until starts to release liquid.
- In a large pot, heat olive oil on low heat. Add onion and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes.
- Add peppers, zucchini, eggplant and grape tomatoes to the pot, stirring well on medium heat.
- Once veggies are softened, about 10 minutes, add garlic and wine, stirring well.
- Stir in parsley and sherry vinegar before serving.
- This will be delicious after cooking for about 20 minutes, and will be a juicier stew. After about an hour it will be a thicker spread. Both ways are delicious, but I prefer the thicker consistency.