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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tumbet y Pescado

As the Lenten season begins, my thoughts fly to one of my favorite Spanish dishes - the Tumbet, which is a mediterranean dish hailing from Mallorca, one of the Balearic Islands of Spain (of which Ibiza is part). I first tasted this dish more than 10 years ago when La Tienda, the Spanish restaurant, offered this as part of their special menu in their Alabang branch during the month of October in celebration of their National Day.

While originally, the tumbet is a vegetable dish, La Tienda offered theirs with fish and baked in the traditional but individual earthenware greixonera. Since then, I've been replicating this dish myself, and have been serving it to my friends for dinner. This is very good served with a warm baguette than rice, and quite good as the star of the show. Nothing more simple than a complete meal in one pot. By the way, baking this dish in a pyrex tray is just as good.

The Recipe:

2 large aubergines or 5 local eggplants
salt & pepper
6 large or 9 small potatoes
2 large white onions, chopped
6 T. olive oil
2 T. garlic, minced
2 big green bell peppers, seeded & sliced
1 big red bell pepper, seeded & sliced
9 T. chopped fresh parsley
3-400 g. cans chopped tomatoes
2 t. paprika
3 T. red wine vinegar
1/2 kilo maya maya, labahita or cod fillets

Slice the aubergines or eggplants on the diagonal, as thin as you can and lay them on a tray. Sprinkle them with salt and leave to sweat 30-40 mins. Blot with kitchen towel. Peel potatoes and boil them in salted water. When almost cooked, lift them from water and slice into rounds. Saute onions briefly in low fire with olive oil then add garlic afterwards. Set vegetables aside.

Grease your baking dish (8 x8 in. & 3 in. deep preferably) with olive oil. As base, pour 1/3 of the first can of the tomatoes & its juice at the bottom of the dish and season with salt, pepper and paprika. Then layer with 1/3 each of the potato slices, aubergines/eggplants, fish, bell peppers, onions and garlic. Pour the remaining tomatoes and juice from the first can and season once again with salt, pepper and paprika. Repeat procedure until all ingredients are layered in then sprinkle the red wine vinegar and add 1 tablespoon on top of dish. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in preheated oven at 200 deg. C or 400 deg. F for 1 hour. Then remove foil and turn the heat to 170 deg.C/325 deg.F and give another 30 minutes to brown and concentrate the juices. Serve hot or cold. This dish also reheats well.

1. For variation and a little more flavor, you can add shredded queso de bola on top.
2. If crammed for time, omit the onions, garlic and cans of tomato and buy 2 bottles of
Bravo's Tomato and Garlic Dip and use this as the tomato sauce.

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