This recipe appears in my book Neighbourhood, published by Plum Books in Australia, and Roost Books in USA.
All photos by Shirley Cai.
Serves 4 to 6 | VG | GF
8 to 9 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 large eggplants (about 2 ½ pounds), halved lengthways and sliced diagonally into 1⁄2 inch (1 centimeter) pieces
2 zucchini (about 1 pound), sliced diagonally into ½-inch pieces
1 onion, finely sliced
1 garlic clove, very finely chopped
2 red bell peppers (about 1 pound), deseeded and sliced into thin strips
4 roma tomatoes (about 1 pound), roughly chopped
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons herbes de Provençe
½ pound green beans, trimmed and halved
1 ½ pound puy lentils, rinsed
½ cup pitted black olives (preferably wrinkly ones), torn in half
2 cups baby arugula leaves
½ cup at-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
Sea salt and black pepper
Red bell peppers: store-bought roasted red peppers
Herbes de Provençe: dried basil, marjoram, rosemary, parsley, oregano or thyme
Puy lentils: black or green varieties
Preheat the oven to 400 ̊F (200 ̊C).
Before roasting, I like to shallow-fry the eggplant and zucchini to soften them and start the process of caramelization. Heat 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan. Add some of the eggplant slices in a single layer, sprinkle with salt and pan-fry, turning often, until slightly softened and golden on both sides.
Repeat, adding more olive oil between batches, until all the eggplant slices have been cooked, then repeat with the zucchini. Set aside.
In a large roasting pan, combine the onion, garlic, bell peppers, tomatoes, red wine vinegar, herbes de Provençe, and 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, and roast for 25 minutes until the tomatoes and peppers are soft. Remove the tomatoes and peppers from the pan, add the eggplant, zucchini, and green beans and roast for another 20 to 25 minutes, until all the vegetables are very tender. Season to taste.
Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil, add the lentils and a big pinch of salt, and simmer over medium heat for around 20 minutes or until the lentils are tender but still have a bite to them. Drain.
To serve, combine the roasted vegetables with the lentils, olives, arugula and parsley. Season well and finish with a good drizzle of oil.