Updated: May 5
Briam is often referred to ask Greek ratatouille because it features many of the same components as its French counterpart. The dish is comprised of a variety of vegetables soaked in an oil based marinade, and slowly baked until the vegetables are completely cooked and slightly crisp on top. Of course, there are many, many variations on this dish depending on which Greek household you talk to, and today I’m going to show you our family’s favorite way to make it.
The first thing to note about briam is that the ingredients are very inexpensive. Making this entire dish cost my less than $20, and the most expensive part was the jar of olive oil. We really like this selection of vegetables because they cook evenly and the flavors pair well. However, if you can’t find them all, or want to swap out something, or add something, feel free to do so! Sometimes I use red onion instead of white onion, and sometimes I use different kinds of squash I find at the farmer’s market in the summer.
For a dish that looks so involved it’s actually surprisingly easy to make. To make it very easy on myself I use a handheld mandoline for slicing. However, if you don’t have one rest assured that a sharp Chef’s knife will do just fine. The key is having the bowls all set up so you can slice everything quickly, marinate the vegetables and set about arranging them in the dish.
Since I like to emphasize presentation with my food I like to layer the vegetables in a pattern and intersperse the pepper squares throughout. Some of my relatives chop their vegetables finely and add them in, which doesn’t look as stunning on the table, but still tastes amazing. Once the vegetables are cooked slice them with a metal spatula and serve them with a fresh sprinkle of feta. The tangy cheese is the perfect compliment to the herbaceous baked vegetables.
This vegetable dish is sometimes referred to as Greek ratatouille. It is full of delicious roasted vegetables, herbs, and fresh flavor. The beauty of this dish is that you can use what vegetables you have one hand. In the winter I serve it hot right out of the oven. In the summer I serve it room temperature with our favorite Greek grilled chicken.
Makes 8-12 Servings
Timing: 20 minutes prep, 80 minutes cooking
11/4 cups olive oil
1 28oz. can diced tomatoes
1 medium eggplant, sliced in 1/3’’ slices
1 medium zucchini, sliced in ¼’’ slices
1 medium yellow squash, sliced in ¼’’ slices
1 large onion, sliced in 1/8’’ slices
1 large potato, sliced in 1/8’’ slices
1 large tomato, sliced in ¼’’ slices
1 large red pepper, cut in 1’’ squares
1 large yellow pepper, cut in 1’’ squares
6 sprigs thyme, cleaned
1 tbsp salt
½ tbsp pepper
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
1 tbsp dried oregano
Optional topping: ¾ cup feta cheese, crumbled
Equipment needed: Mandolin (optional), 9x13’’ baking dish.
1. Preheat oven to 400*
2. Make your marinade: combine olive oil, salt, pepper, thyme, parsley and oregano.
3. Set out 5 large mixing bowls.
4. Add the sliced squash, eggplant, and zucchini into a bowl together. Add the tomato, potato, onion and peppers into the remaining individual bowls. Divide the marinade evenly amongst the vegetables, and toss to coat.
5. Pour the can of diced tomatoes into the bottom of your baking dish.
6. Arrange the squash, eggplant, zucchini, tomato, potato and onion over the diced tomatoes in a repeating pattern (refer to pictures). Reserve the peppers.
7. Once all vegetables are arranged, tuck the peppers in evenly throughout the layers.
8. Pour any leftover marinade from the mixing bowls over the vegetables.
Cover the dish with foil. Tent the foil a bit so it is not touching the veggies. Bake in 400* oven for 45 minutes. Take pan out briefly to carefully remove foil, then place back in oven, uncovered, and roast for another 30-40 minutes or until the veggies are soft and the tops of your vegetables are golden brown.
Remove from oven. Serve warm or at room temperature. Top with crumbled feta (optional)
Note: ovens do vary so make sure to check as needed and modify cooking time accordingly.
Nikki Glekas is the owner of Nikki Glekas Events, a full-service catering and events company located in Stamford, CT. She is currently operating with COVID-safe procedures and is happy to discuss your event and catering needs with you. To discuss further please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 203.658.8659.