First, I must let you know that during the time of COVID-19, we are cooking and eating much later than our usual routine, and therefore some dishes have not been photographed. But no apologies – this is a chance for us to use our imagination, not only for the visual appeal of the dish but also the aroma it floods the kitchen with as it cooks. This was made in April, after a few weeks of the lockdowns, and it brought joy to the table! The gremolata with the gratin lifts the baked dish, and we all became quiet as we ate the dish with our meal.
This recipe really makes use of a mandolin – a trusty and much loved tool in my kitchen. Daily it slices, grates, shreds or juliennes ingredients for salads, chips, bakes, and a hundred other uses. Slice a fennel thinly and add olive oil and lemon juice. Divine. Shred potatoes for latkes and rosti. Thinly slice cucumber for translucent salads. Julienne carrots, turnips, jicama, zucchini, kohlrabi for salads, fritters and stir-frying. Slice pears and apples for tarts for just for glazing beautifully in butter and sugar. Shred cabbage for coleslaw. Onions or other soft vegetables so thinly sliced for quick pickling.
Food processors are equally as useful, and mine has an adjustable slice so that it will produce thick slices for baking or see-through whispy slices for salads. You should see my daikon salad with such thin slices! But the processor is such a large machine, most times it is simpler to use the mandolin. Mine is 20 years old or more, a German brand, and I hope it lasts me another 20 years.
The mandoline makes swift work of this dish. Slice beetroot, potatoes and eggplant, layer with some garlic, and cook with wine and stock. Top with Gremolata as you bring it to the table. Special.
Of course, if you don’t have a mandoline, the food processor or a sharp knife can easily be used instead.
The images in this post are from Unsplash.