For lunch, I’ve often gone to eat at Café Zikade during the past years. They are an organic, vegetarian restaurant (which occasionally does serve meat, but it’s very rare) in the south of Cologne, with a great salad bar and a menu that changes every day. I would go there to get new inspiration for dishes to make at home. One of the meals that I loved eating there in particular was their Venetian casserole, which is an oven-based dish made out of Brussels sprout, tomatoes, olives and capers. Ever since I ate this dish, I yearn for fall all throughout summer. Since I’m not a big fan of olives and I hardly ever have capers in the house, my version includes just tomatoes and brussel sprouts. I particularly enjoy having this dish with fresh oregano, it’s pretty spectacular, very smooth and fragrant. It really makes a difference whether you add the oregano or not (and using dried leaves doesn’t work), so I very much suggest that when you replicate this dish you have fresh oregano on hand.
500g Brussels sprout
gluten-free vegetable broth
three sprigs of fresh oregano
pepper to taste
50g grated mozzarella
Peel the Brussels sprouts and cut them into halves. Wash them thoroughly and place them into a pot full of vegetable broth. Boil the Brussels sprouts for about five minutes.
Remove the stems from the tomatoes and put them into a bowl. Cover them with boiled water. The peel should come off easily. I am sometimes too lazy for this step (when I know I have particularly stubborn tomatoes on my hands), so I just add the tomatoes with their peels.
With the help of a ladle place the Brussels sprouts and some of the broth into an oven dish. Add a bit more vegetable broth powder if necessary, and some pepper. Add the tomatoes. Wash the oregano sprigs, and peel off the leaves. Place them into the oven dish together with the Brussels sprout and the tomatoes. Stir the vegetables around, in order to evenly distribute the tomatoes and the oregano leaves. Cover with mozzarella. Place the dish into the oven. Bake at 220 °C for about fifteen minutes. By then, the cheese should be golden brown.