Steamed and stacked vegetables with leek and saffron sauce
Although I’m not a salad person, crunchy vegetables are my weakness. Whether I’m having pasta or a chunky soup, I’m always fishing for crunchy bits of carrots, artichokes, water chestnuts, French beans, broccoli or whatever it is, that has a noisy bite.
I respect recipes that manage to bring out the perfect balance of smoothness and crunchiness in one simple dish. Considering I spend hours looking for that flawlessly, crisp piece of bell pepper or aubergine, carefully puncturing all sides to ensure firmness, I better get to eat just that.
Today, I combined a few crunchy vegetables with a creamy sauce to make that balanced-out dish.
1 small aubergine
1 small carrot
1 yellow bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
½ cup spinach (finely chopped)
¼ cup mushrooms (roughly chopped)
6 small cloves of garlic
1 small tomato (deseeded)
4 basil leaves (finely chopped)
½ cup leek
4-5 strands of saffron
4 tablespoon vegetable stock
Salt and pepper as per taste
1 ½ tablespoon cream
3 tablespoon olive oil
Method: Heat one tablespoon of olive oil and sauté three chopped garlic cloves in it until brown. Add the chopped spinach and cook it for three to four minutes. Slice the aubergine, carrot (half of it), bell peppers and tomato into thin-round slices and keep aside.
Line a round bowl with cling film and stack all the vegetables one by one. Start off with the sautéed spinach and chopped mushrooms, followed by the rest. Drizzle this stack with two tablespoons of olive oil and close the cling film tightly from top. Steam this bowl for 15 minutes in a pressure cooker and tumble it on your plate.
In a pan heat the leftover olive oil and sauté the leeks. Add basil, two spoons of mushroom, two spoons of finely chopped carrots, leftover garlic, vegetable stock and let this mixture simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. You can add more stock, if required. Once the vegetables look done, give it a quick whisk in the blender and move it to the pan again. Finish the sauce with cream and seasoning. Serve it with the stacked vegetables.