Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Vegetable Layer-Bake

"Lasagna" di Tortilla, Bietola Rossa, Melanzane Thailandese & Feta
Tortilla "Lasagna" with Red Chard, Thai Eggplant & Feta Cheese


Oops! I made something crazy for supper again- I just can't help myself sometimes! I have been playing around with the idea of making a lasagna-like dish using tortillas for a while, but didn't want to do a tomato sauce, ground meat, Bechamel sauce and cheese kind-of affair... what would be the fun in that? Nope- it would have to be something different and just a little bit mental- and just a little bit like this!

I guess the main thing that makes this look crazy is the color of that wonderful red chard- which is absolutely coincidental as the flavor is just the same as the regular green chard... but how was I supposed to resist? The important thing for me was that it was tasty and new- and it was all of that and more!


One aspect of the flavor of my dish and the classic lasagne, was the rich, nutmeg flavor that the Bechamel sauce brings with it- only in my dish this evening, there was none of that butter and flour involved- it was a much lighter affair. It also had much less cheese in it than a regular lasagne and of course no meat- but was satisfying enough for all of us meat-eaters that it would delight us as much as our vegetarian friends- something for everyone here... well- except for our vegan buddies! Sorry! You just can't please all of the people all of the time as they say! And in the first instance... my meals are made to please ME first! Haha!


So, for my one-person feast, I needed 1 small head of chard, 1 Spring onion, 1/2 of a Feta cheese, 3 Thai eggplants (regular eggplant would obviously also be fine)- and 3 tortillas.


Sometimes a change is as good as the rest!  


I cut the stalks of the chard up small and cut the leaves into strips, I crumbled the Feta cheese and sliced the eggplant and onion up equally finely... then I turned on the oven to get it hot and ready, brought some water to the boil for the chard... and got my little cooking show on the road!

Once the water was boiling in my saucepan, I added a good pinch of salt and the stalks of the chard, then dropped the leaves on top and let it bubble away for just 5 minutes.


Whilst that was happening, I gently fried the eggplant slices in a little olive oil and after 3-4 minutes, added the Spring onion so that it would also soften up a little. I seasoned with salt and pepper and after frying for 7-8 minutes in all, turned off the heat and set them to one side to cool.

In the meantime, the chard was almost tender and so I poured off the water. I then added enough milk to half-cover it, plenty of nutmeg and a little olive oil, brought it up to the boil and then turned off the heat and let the chard infuse with the milk and nutmeg flavors- which made it milder and of course richer at the same time... Chard loves nutmeg, you know!


Next, I trimmed down my tortillas to fit my baking dish- you will get 2 decent sized rectangles to fit a standard Lasagna dish from 1 regular tortilla.


And then the layering began! I started off my laying a couple of eggplant slices at the bottom of the dish to stop the first layer sticking and began to stack up the ingredients step by step. The first layer was eggplant, onion and of course Feta cheese. I added a little more pepper and nutmeg and continued with the next layer...


...which of course was the chard and Feta and the rich, colorful milk, which I also drizzled lightly on top- not too much, just enough to moisten the tortillas.


I built up the layers until I had used up all of my ingredients and pressed the top layer down firmly- this helps get those juices and the milk into every slice. Any excess milk can be drizzled over the top, along with a little olive oil and a last sprinkle of pepper and nutmeg- then into a hot oven it goes, at 180°C, for 15-20 minutes until it is looking rich and toasty and delicious!


Very simple, very delicious, and nicely healthy and light... What's not to like?


And it is as flavorful as it is colorful! Which is a wonderful thing in itself!


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