We recently had a Middle Eastern themed dinner party. For entrée, I served these tasty Ratatouille-Style Briouats (I understand it to be pronounced bree-wat).
One of the great things about cooking, is that you can travel from your dining room table. We’re so fortunate to be able to get amazing spices and interesting international foods now days at the local deli. This dish is described as Moroccan street food.
I’ve heard stories of my Opa going to Morocco in his younger years. It would have been years before the movie Casablanca came out. Whilst making this entrée I wondered to myself whether my Opa would have ever eaten something like this in a market place in those days. It must have been a very adventurous time to be in Morocco.
2 tomatoes, halved
2 zucchinis, halved length-ways and sliced
1 onion, peeled and cut into 8 wedges
1 red capsicum, deseeded and roughly chopped
1 eggplant, halved length-ways and sliced
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
2-4 teaspoons of ras el hanout spice mix
a good glug of olive oil
salt and pepper
2 handfuls of breadcrumbs
2 lemons, one juiced and one cut in quarters
8-16 sheets of filo pastry
2 teaspoons sesame seeds (optional)
100g melted butter
150g greek yoghurt
2 teaspoons harissa
coriander or parsley to serve
Preheat oven to 180°C (or 160°C fan forced). Toss the prepared veg, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper and spices together in a large roasting tray and bung that in the oven for 45 minutes or so, until everything is cooked through and deliciously golden. You may want to visit the vegetables half way through that cooking time to give them another little toss, so they colour and cook evenly.
When the vegetables are ready, pull them out and let them cool until they are cool enough to handle and roughly chop them until they are well mixed but not mush. In a bowl, combine the chopped, roasted vegetables and the juice of one of the lemons. Taste for seasoning.
At this point, turn your oven up to 220°C (or 200°C fan forced).
To roll the Briouats, wet and wring out a clean tea-towel to lay your filo pastry on, so it won’t become dry and brittle. Next, take your filo pastry and lay 2-4 sheets on top of each other, brushing in-between each layer with melted butter (yum) or oil.
I then sprinkled a half a handful of breadcrumbs along one long side of the filo (leaving a 3cm border) and spooned the vegetable mixture along that line too. Breadcrumbs weren’t in the original recipe, but I wanted to make sure the pastry remained crispy and breadcrumbs are great at absorbing any extra liquid in the filling. It may sound odd, but I do the same for apple strudel as well (you don’t taste it and it works a treat).
Use the tea-towel to assist you in rolling the pastry into a cigar shape, tucking in the short sides as you go to seal it up. Use more melted butter as glue. Mine came out looking more like sausage rolls. I was running a little late and I didn’t take as much time or care as perhaps I should have… but it tasted good! However, you could roll them to be much smaller, and more delicate cigars.
Placing the rolls in a baking dish, I then brushed them liberally with the melted butter (is there any other way to brush butter onto pastry?!), and sprinkled with some sesame seeds and a bit of left over spice mix and put it in the oven for about 20 minutes, until all crispy and golden. Keep an eye on them intermittently.
Serve with wedges of lemon, fresh herbs, and a pot of yoghurt swirled with hot harissa – delicious!
The genius thing about this for an entrée, is that you can par-cook the rolls and pop them back in the oven for final browning when your guests are having a welcome drink with nibbles.
Stay tuned for Middle Eastern Dinner Party – Part 2 – Chicken, Olive and Preserved Lemon Tagine (without a tagine)… and the grand finale of Part 3 – Almond Honey Spice Syrup Cake with Fig, Date and Apricot Compote.Did you like this?