One of my favorite dishes ever, a summer hit from seasonal ingredients
Pisto is a Spanish vegetable meal, it’s a seasonal dish which can be served even cold. It’s great also in winter and served hot. As I’ve mentioned, it’s a vegetable dish and it’s very important that you choose only high-quality vegetables. The pisto is supposed to be aromatic and have great taste, something you can’t do with supermarket vegetables that have been cultivated to look great at the cost of the taste. I’m lucky to have vegetables in the garden in summer but if you don’t, just buy it from your local farmer.
Pisto is a typical Spanish dish, however, I don’t thing that two families would agree on one “right” recipe. Even I make it different from my mother-in-law’s pisto. This is the recipe that I find the best. Every time I make it I make a huge pot full and it disappears fast.
Ingredients (full pot, serves 4 – 6 depending on how hungry you are;):
- 1 huge or 2 big zucchini
- 2 big aubergines
- 1 kg of tomatos
- 2 big onions
- 3 big sweet red pepper
- 4 leaves of fresh basil
- olive oil
Let me say something about the tomatoes and the oil
I’ve already said that high-quality vegetables are essential here and tomatoes even more so. Don’t use the supermarket tomatoes that look like they’ve been polished with wax. The best kind of tomatoes are the huge Spanish ones called tomate rosa. They look a bit ugly, they hardly ever turn red, rather pink, they aren’t perfectly round and you’ll probably have to cut off the whole top that usually stays green. However, they have the best taste ever (about 3 – 4 pieces to one kg).
If you don’t have Spanish tomatoes, just use any other kind that you like. I like to add also a few small wild peruvian and bulgarian tomatoes that grow in tall bushes and have a very intensive taste.
Quality olive oil is important as well, I use only extra virgin that we bring directly from Spain in small canisters.
How to cook that
Peel the aubergines, slice them and let them “sweat” – salt them a little and when small drops appear, wipe them with a paper towel. Then turn the slices and repeat.
Cut the aubergines in dices. Peel the zucchini, take the seeds out with a spoon and dice the zucchini. Cut the peeled onion and the pepper in small pieces and as for the tomatoes, you can cut them in bigger pieces. If you use also cherry tomatoes, you can just cut them in half or not at all.
On your stove, prepare a big pot and a pan. Put 3 spoons of oil in the pot and fry the zucchini a little. Then salt it a little, put a lid on the pot and let it stew slowly. Fry the aubergines on the pan a little and add them to the pot.
Repeat with the onion and pepper.
Leave the tomatoes for the end, they need a bit more time on the pan and less in the pot. They should leave some water after a while in the pan. Add them to the pot when you see that there’s soft tomato pieces in quite a lot of tomato sauce.
Stew the mixture slowly until all vegetables are soft (zucchini takes the longest).
Chop the basil, add it to the pot and stew for 3 – 5 minutes. Add salt if you want.
Serve hot or cold with homemade bread or fried eggs. Que aproveche!