Recipes for a Southern French Vegetarian Dinner
Salade de pois chiches et olives noires
¼ cup olive oil
2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 cup pitted black olives, sliced
Juice and finely grated zest of one large lemon
Sea salt and freshly grated pepper
In a heavy skillet, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and rosemary and stir a couple of times. Add the chickpeas and olives and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl and let set at room temperature an hour or two. (You can also make ahead, refrigerate and let come to room temperature before serving.)
When ready to serve, add the lemon zest and juice and stir to combine. Add a few grindings of pepper and a light sprinkle of salt. Divide the arugula among four salad plates and top with the chickpea salad. Serves four.
Brie aux Cerises Noires
6 slices raisin bread
1 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons sliced almonds
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 8-ounce wheel of brie
2 tablespoons dark cherry preserves
Preheat the oven to 325. Toast the raisin bread and cut each slice into four triangles. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat and add the almonds. Cook until lightly toasted, abour 5 minutes. Add the cinnamon and stir to blend.
Center the wheel of brie on a small round baking dish or glass pie plate. Spread the jam over it and top with the toasted almonds. Bake until soft and scoopable, about 6 minutes. Place on a hot pad and serve with the raisin toasts for scooping. Serves four.
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
2-3 cups cooked rice
2 medium eggplants
4 medium zucchini
3 or 4 ripe roma tomatoes
2 cloves garlic (or to taste), minced
Several sprigs fresh thyme
A good fruity olive oil, as needed
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Optionals: a handful of black olives, minced red or green bell pepper, cheese of your choice
Preheat oven to 325. In a little olive oil, cook onions over low heat until very soft and just barely starting to brown. Mix with the rice and put into a shallow baking dish. If you are using red or green bell pepper, sauté with the onions.
Meanwhile, cut the eggplants (leaving the skin on) into slices about 1/3” thick. Sprinkle with salt and place in a colander. Let drain for at least 30 minutes.
Cut the zucchini into thin slices, and slice the unpeeled tomatoes about ½” thick. Drain the eggplant and pat dry with paper towels. Place the tomato and eggplant in rows on top of the rice alternating and overlapping. Sprinkle the garlic atop the slices as you go; don’t leave it exposed. Now tuck the zucchini in between the eggplant and tomato slices with just the edges peeking out. Season with a little salt and several grindings of pepper. Add the thyme sprigs. Scatter on the olives if using. Drizzle the whole casserole with a plenty of olive oil. I used about ½ cup total. Be sure to cover as much of the surface of the casserole as you can with it.
Bake for about 45 minutes. If you are using cheese, sprinkle it on now. Bake for another 15 minutes or until the eggplant and zucchini are soft and lightly browned. Remove from the oven and let set for at least 15-20 minutes before serving. Serves 6 as a main course.