Provencal Vegetable Cake

Provencal Vegetable Cake - Bruno Albouze - THE REAL DEAL

Provencal Vegetable / Vegan Cake Recipe

Serves 8 to 10. Make a day ahead.
1 ea. eggplant, sliced lengthwise
2 ea. red bell pepper
2 ea. yellow bell pepper
1 ea. poblano pepper (optional)
2 ea. zucchini, sliced lengthwise
2 ea. summer squash, sliced lengthwise
1 lb (450g) spinach
1 lb(450g) cremini mushrooms
1/4 tsp porcini powder (optional).

1 onion, halved skin on
1 garlic head, halved skin on
2 ea. shallots, halved skin on (optional)
1/4 tsp herbes de Provence
≈ 1 sprig of thyme
1 ea. bay leaf
1.5 Tbsp (25g) olive oil
Salt and pepper.
Wrap in heavy duty foil and place on grill – flip and rotate every so often and cook to confit for about 45 min. Set aside.

Tomato Fennel Marmalade
8 ea. roma tomatoes
3 ea. fennel, trimmed and sliced / olive oil & 1/2 cup (125g) veggie or chicken stock or white wine
1/2 Tbsp (6g) sugar
1 can / 28oz fired roated crushed tomatoes
≈ 8 basil leaves
Salt & pepper to taste.

Light up charcoal grill / bbq; it should take 25/30 min. Meanwhile, clean and slice and season eggplant and zucchini with olive oil and salt. Use your fave spice rub if desired or pesto. Wash and trim fennel, remove outer shell if necessary and slice. Give a quick wash to the mushrooms, trim off bottoms, chop and make a duxelles using a food processor. First, roast bell peppers and begin cooking the bouquet in foil. Seal roasted pepppers in a freezer bag to sweat for 15 min or more; peel and seed.

Roast tomatoes and peel; set aside. Grill eggplant and zucchini; set aside. In a hot frying pan. sauté mushroom duxelles with a drizzle of olive oil for about 5 min; transfer to a bowl and set aside. In the same frying pan, sauté fennel for 5 min, season with salt and pepper, deglaze with stock or wine – cover and let cook for about 20 min to soften; set aside. Heat up a large pot, drizzle some olive oil and salt – Wilt spinach stirring swifly for about 4 min; drain well and wrap up in paper towels and press down to extract as much moisture as possible. Skin and seed all bell peppers and season with salt and pepper.

Tomato Marmalade
Chop roasted tomatoes. Unwrap foil (discard herbs), squeeze out flesh from the roasted garlic, onion and shallots and chop all together.
In a large and hot frying pan, throw in the garlic-onion mixture and drizzle more olive oil if necessary. Add tomatoes, sugar and fennel and the canned crushed tomatoes. Cook for 20 min and break down mixture in a food processor in 2 batches adding fresh basil leaves as it goes (do not turn into puree but raher smaller chunks). Return mixture to the stove and cook on low for an additonal 45 min to an hour to thicken. Reajust seasoning if needed. Let cool down tomato marmalade on its pan for 2 hours or more and chill.

Veggie Cake Assembly
Place a 8 to 9 inch (21/23cm) diameter cake ring lined with a plastic cake strip or parchment (optional) onto a flat platter or large plate. Start with a layer of eggplant followed by mushroom duxelles (use half). Add summer squash, red bell peppers, spinach, yellow bell peppers, mushroom duxelles, zucchini and poblano (pasilla chili). Top with plastic wrap and a flat dish that is slightly smaller than the cake ring diameter. Add weight such as 2 x28oz cans. Surround the base of the cake ring with paper towels and chill overnight; this will compress the veggies releasing remaining moisture. This step is mandatory. Then, remove weight and wrap and papper towels. Top with the tomato marmalade. Save leftover for later use. The finished veggie cake should weight 2.2lb (2000g). Serve whole or sliced.

The provencal veggie cake can be enjoyed as is as an appetizer, entree or side side dish, cold at room temperature or hot.
If desired, top the hot veggie cake with Parmesan shavings and place under the broiler until golden brown and serve. Bon appétit!

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