Sep 21, 2012

One skillet, stewed summer vegetables

On the first day of Autumn I feel like celebrating Summer (which much to my regret is indeed fading away) with this tasty and extremely easy vegetarian dish. It is the perfect lunch even for September days, although I must admit it did taste a lot better on a boat in Greece.

On a sailing boat things are very basic. But it sure doesn't mean that you can not have heaven-tasting meals on board, especially if you are travelling with Capitan F.. While we were in Greece, along with all the fried anchovies, baked eggplant, octopus, feta cheese and roasted meat we ate at local, small, sea-facing restaurants, we also ate on board a few times. Capitan F. is an excellent cook so G. and I respectfully sat back and gave him space in the galley (there wouldn't have been room for the three of us there anyway). He cooked some lip-smacking pastas, with sauces made from the fresh vegetables we'd buy from local producers, and one night he made us the most delicious stewed vegetables I had ever tasted. While chatting I kept an eye on what he was doing, so when I found myself back home, with the exact same vegetables he had used on hand, I did not hesitate one second to literally copy what he did.

The very best part of this recipe (besides the result) is that it only requires one skillet with a lid, a sharp knife and a cutting board. Plus once you turn the heat on you just have to let the vegetables stew without stirring or checking on them. Doesn't that alone make you feel like giving them a try?


  • 1 medium red onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 medium eggplant or 6-8 Chinese eggplants (I used the latter)
  • 1 medium yellow bell pepper
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp capers (if using the salted ones be sure to rinse thoroughly prior to using)
  • dried oregano (about 1/4 tsp)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • water
  • salt (about 1/2 tsp)

Start by lightly coating the bottom of a non stick skillet with olive oil. Then crush the garlic cloves and through them in the skillet. Slice the onion and layer the skillet with it. Cut the eggplant and the bell pepper in medium pieces and arrange on top of the onion, the eggplant should be arranged skin-side up in order for their flesh to cook better. Slice the tomatoes and use arrange on top of the other vegetable (this will be the las layer). Through in the capers. Sprinkle with salt and oregano. Add enough water so that when you slightly incline the skillet you can see it. Turn on the heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to very low, cover with a lid and let cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour (check every 15 minutes, but do not stir: if all the water has evaporated add some, you don't want the vegetables to burn or stick to the pan). Once they are cooked, if there is still too much liquid remove the lid and let it evaporate a bit on high heat.
These vegetables are perfect with a slice of toasted bread and some feta or pecorino cheese.

Buon appetito!

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