We love to eat this vegetarian, olive oil gratin all year round, especially these late fall days using locally grown, deliciously tender and flavorful broccoli, and the last long peppers we gather from the garden.
The tanginess of yogurt accentuated by the crumbled feta beautifully complement the sweetness of the broccoli and the peppers.
Serves 5-6: 12X9-inch (30X20cm) glass casserole
About 1 ½ pounds (750 grams) broccoli: pare the hard stems, discarding only the very hard parts, separating the tender florets. Wash under running water in a colander and drain.
2/3 cup olive oil
1 large or 2 small red bell peppers, seeded and cut into somewhat thin strips (about 1 cup pieces)
4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
½ cup whole-wheat breadcrumbs
1 ¼ cup full fat yogurt, not strained (Greek)
1 ½ cups full fat milk
¼ cup olive oil
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
400 grams crumbled feta –about 1 2/3 cup
3 medium eggs
1 teaspoon or more smoked red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons grated kefalotyri or pecorino cheese
Pinch red pepper flakes
Preheat the oven to 350F (180 C).
In a pot of boiling water, add 1 tablespoon salt, and the harder broccoli stems and cook for about 10 minutes, before adding the florets and cooking them until easily pierced with a knife. Alternatively arrange the stems in a basket or colander that can be fitted over a pot (or a steamer, if you have one), and steam for about 15 minutes, then add the florets and steam until tender.
Drain the cooked broccoli and chop the stems and florets into about ½-inch pieces.
In a skillet add half the olive oil and sauté the peppers for 10-15 minutes, until soft. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Add the garlic to the hot oil and stir a couple of times –don’t let it color. Add the Broccoli pieces and stir a few times then remove from the heat.
Pour the rest of the olive oil to the baking pan and spread the breadcrumbs, stirring to coat then with oil. Set aside.
Make the sauce: In a bowl add the yogurt and the milk and stir to mix.
In a saucepan warm the olive oil with the flour, on medium-high heat, stirring with a whisk, and cook until well frothy, about 4-5 minutes. Pour in the yogurt mixture and cook stirring until it thickens and starts to boil.
Remove from the heat and stir in the feta and eggs, mixing them well. Add the smoked pepper flakes, stir, and keep 1 cup of the sauce for topping. To the rest of the sauce add the sauteed peppers and the broccoli and toss to mix. Taste and add pepper and salt, to taste.
Carefully spread this mixture on the oiled breadcrumbs, in the pan, being carful not to mix the broccoli with the crumbs that should stay at the bottom. Even the mixture with a spoon or spatula, then pour over the reserved yogurt sauce, spreading it all over. Sprinkle with the grated cheese and with some red pepper flakes and set on a sheet pan covered with parchment paper, before placing in the middle of the oven.
Bake for about 35 minutes, or until well browned on top and bubbly. Let cool for 10-20 minutes before serving.