Inspired by a side dish I enjoyed recently at the newly opened Ruby Watchco, this dish makes for a wonderful vegetarian main course or a colourful side dish. Tourlou is a baked vegetable dish that is cooked often in Greek homes. The Greek kitchen is loaded with vegetarian options and this aspect of our cuisine really shines in the summer with fresh, seasonal ingredients that are packed with flavour.
A dish like this could be baked the evening before or the morning of the day it is to be served. It’s another dish that benefits greatly from serving after the veggies have had a chance to mingle and shares flavours. I’ve omitted peppers (traditional in a tourlou) and added green beans. The other usual Tourlou attendees are here in tomatoes, zucchini and eggplant. This is a three part dish but worth it: saute the onions, layer and stack the vegetables and bake. The bean component is done on the stove-top but blanched. You may certainly add the beans in with the other vegetables in the oven but I like my beans to stay green and to still have a little crunch to the bite.
Herbs? Lots of parsley, some fresh thyme and a hint of mint. The presence of good olive oil is here and just sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Another economical dish, colourful, delicious and you eat like a Greek!
Tourlou With Beans (Τουρλού με Φασόλια)
1/4 cup olive oil + 1/2 olive oil for herb mixture
4 large onions, peeled and sliced
5-6 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 large zucchini, sliced
2 thin eggplants, sliced
6-7 ripe plum/Roma tomatoes
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
4-5 sprigs of thyme
2 tsp. of sea salt
1 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1 cup chopped fresh basil
1lb/ of fresh green beans, picked over and trimmed
Pre-heated 375F oven
- Place a large skillet on your stove-top over medium heat and add the olive oil, the sliced onions and garlic. Stir and saute for a couple of minutes. Add some salt and pepper and cover. Reduce the heat and allow the onions to sweat down for another 5-6 minutes or until translucent.
- Empty the the onions into a casserole or baking dish (spread out evenly). Arrange your vegetables in rows: one row of sliced tomatoes, row of zucchini, row of eggplant. Repeat until your vegetables are all lined in the baking vessel.
- Finely chop your fresh parsley & thyme and place in a food processor and mix with the remaining 1/2 cup of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste (I added 2 tsp. salt & 1 tsp. fresh ground pepper). Once blended well, pour this mixture over all the vegetables.
- Cover with aluminum foil and place in your pre-heated oven for 1 hour. Take out of the oven and sprinkle the chopped basil all over. Allow to cool a bit before serving or even serve re-heated the next day (tastier).
- In the meantime, pick-over your beans, snap off the stem end and place a pot of water to boil. Add a good amount of salt and add your beans. Once the water has returned to a boil, cook the beans for 5 minutes or until just fork tender. Strain, place in a cold water bath and then strain.
- To serve, Place the beans on the bottom of a plate or platter, then top with the Tourlou. Spoon over some of the juices and serve. Some crusty, homemade bread and a slab of Feta cheese would serve you well with this dish.
If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://kalofagas.ca then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at truenorth67 AT gmail DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author.
© 2007-2010 Peter Minakis
© 2010 – 2011,
. All rights reserved.