It's Royal Foodie Joust time again!! The Royal Foodie Joust is hosted by HRH Jenn, The LeftOver Queen and if you still haven't heard about it or don't know what it is, all I can say is Get With It - this is probably one of the most awesome cyber cooking competitions!
This time around, the ingredients were chosen by the winner of the May Joust - my friend Nuria over at Spanish Recipes and they are:
Seems quite simple but the difficulty here really is that there are so many options available! My first thought was to make stuffed tomatoes but that would be too simple. Then I thought about a bacon based Briyani but decided that I had already gone along those lines for a previous joust.
What to make, what to make? Then it hit me as I was driving my car.
I remembered a picture I had seen once when I was browsing cookbooks in a bookstore of a tart made with rice. Then I thought of filling the tart with eggplant, mushrooms (gotta have mushrooms!) and bacon and topped off with tomatoes. The picture in my mind looked really good and even though I wasn't quite sure how I would make the tart, I let the picture in my minds eye lead me on!
This is what I did.
Mediterranean Rice Tartelettes - makes 10 tartelettes
1 cup rice
2 eggs - beaten
8 rashers back bacon - chopped
1 large eggplant - cut into large pieces
3 tomatoes - sliced
2 tsp basil
200g button mushrooms - halved
2 tsp oregano
Cook the rice and let cool. Add in the beaten eggs and mix well ensuring egg is incorporated. Season with salt. Set aside.
Degorge the eggplant by placing the cut pieces in a colander. Sprinkle with salt and let stand for about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, fry bacon till cooked. Set aside
Fry basil and tomatoes together till slightly soft. Set aside
Fry oregano with mushrooms till cooked. Set aside.
Rinse eggplant and then pat dry. Fry till tender. Set aside.
Place rice into tart moulds and bake in a preheated 190C oven for about 15 mins. Place eggplant, then bacon, mushrooms and cover with a slice of tomato. Return to oven and raise temperature to 200C. Bake for another 20 mins. Allow to cool slightly before unmoulding. Garnish with some celery leaves if desired.
The picture I had in my mind had a mushroom half sitting on top of the tomato, but since there was enough mushroom to go into the tarts, I thought it best to keep the mushrooms under wraps!
I was kind of worried as to how to unmould the tartelettes but as they cooled, the tarts pulled in a little and whatever parts remained stuck to the sides were easily removed by sliding a sharp knife in between the mould and the rice. The tarts unmoulded very nicely and kept their shape.
The Lovely Wife had invited her parents over for lunch and so these tartelettes became the appetiser and I had more taste testers that usual. The first tartelette was tasted by The Lovely Wife and she declared it as very good. My son then had a proper tartelette and he enjoyed it immensely. My In-Laws really loved it too and were rather surprised that I had used rice for the tart shell.
I must say that the tartelettes were very delicious too! I think the mix of flavours of tomato, bacon, egpplant and mushrooms complemented each other really well and the rice tart shell gave it a lovely finish. Then again, as Nuria says, anything with Bacon in it is good and I just have to agree with that!
This is definitely something that I will make again although I might vary the fillings. This joust was a lot of fun so thanks once again to Nuria for choosing these great ingredients and of course to Jenn for hosting this great event!