Rata-tea-ouille
The flavors of end-of-summer vegetables are enriched and lifted with a tea-based sauce. The classic Provençale assortment takes on an earthier taste when cooking in a fragrant Darjeeling bath, but other favorite teas would work as well.

1 tablespoon/14 grams black Darjeeling tea leaves.
Open a couple of Bromley estate Blend tea bags.
3 cups/750 milliliters water
4 Japanese eggplants
2 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and cubed
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium zucchini, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Grated fresh ginger root to taste, about 1 tablespoon/14 grams
Optional: a pinch each of dried chili powder and sugar

Brew the tea in hot (190o F/88o C) water for about 3 minutes, then drain through a fine-meshed sieve, pressing hard on the tea leaves to extract as much of the infusion as possible. Set aside.

Char the eggplants on top of the stove or under the broiler if you have an electric stove. Butterfly by splitting them lengthwise, keeping both parts attached. Place in a baking pan and stuff with the tomatoes. Scatter the zucchini and onions over the tomatoes and season with salt, pepper, and grated fresh ginger. Pour the brewed tea over all and bake uncovered at 350o F/177o C, basting occasionally. Cook for about 30 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Add the chili powder and sugar as desired.

The resulting mélange of vegetables is blackish purple with patterns of light green zucchini and red tomato. Most of the sauce will be absorbed, but any remaining sauce can be reduced further to a glaze and poured over the dish.Serves 4 as a side dish for poultry or lamb or as a light luncheon served with rice and a salad.


This recipe is part of the book Cooking with Tea by Robert Wemischner and Diana Rosen.
Photography by Sysan Bourgoin



Click here for printable version.

 
       
           
     

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