by Francesco Mazzei from Mezzogiorno (Preface/Penguin Random House)
Pan-fried Mediterranean vegetables with scrambled eggs stuffed inside a loaf is the best way to describe this dish, but really that is underselling it, as ciambotta is one of my favourite recipes in the book, completely addictive & a real crowd pleaser.
The flavours keep maturing so that it just gets better & better, & the juices inside the bread keep it moist so it won’t go stale.
Alternatively you could halve the recipe & use a 1.25kg sourdough loaf.
Prep time: 15 mins
Cooking time: 30 mins
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
600g red peppers, cut into 1.5cm cubes
320g courgette, cut into 1.5cm cubes
350g aubergine, cut into 1.5cm cubes
300g red onion, cut into 1.5cm cubes
1 x 2.5kg sourdough loaf, or 2 x 1.25kg loaves
4 medium eggs, lightly beaten
10g flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
10g basil, roughly chopped
1 pinch dried oregano
30g pecorino cheese, grated
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
1. Heat a tablespoon of the olive oil in a large sauté/frying pan & cook the red pepper over a medium heat until softened & lightly coloured, seasoning with salt & pepper, then transfer to a large bowl.
2. Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan & fry the courgette in the same way then remove & add to the bowl of pepper. Repeat with the aubergine & red onion.
3. Cut a circle off the top of the bread, about a quarter of the way down, & tear out almost all the insides to make something similar to a pot.
4. Mix the vegetables together, stir the eggs into the hot vegetables & season with the fresh herbs, oregano & the cheese. Check the seasoning & pile the mixture into the bread shell.
5. Drizzle with olive oil, cover with the bread’s top, & leave to firm up overnight at room temperature, flipping the bread three or four times, so that it becomes evenly soaked in all the oil & vegetable juices.
6. Serve cut into wedges.