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Zucchini-eggplant-pepper timbales

Time 1 hour
Yields Serves 4
Zucchini-eggplant-pepper timbales
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
1

Heat the grill or grill pan. Char the peppers until blistered on all sides. Or char the pepper over a gas flame on the stovetop, turning it as the skin blisters and turns black. Cool, then slip off skins and remove seeds. Cut into thin strips and set aside.

2

Create stripes in the eggplant by removing lengthwise half-inch strips of peel so that peeled strips alternate with peel left on. Then cut the eggplant crosswise into 12 half-inch-thick slices (they will have decorative edges). Brush the slices very lightly on both sides with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Grill until soft, about 9 minutes. Cool.

3

Cut the zucchini crosswise into half-inch-thick slices. Brush very lightly with oil, season with salt and pepper, and grill until soft, about 7 to 8 minutes. Cool.

4

Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Oil 4 small ramekins or custard cups.

5

Mix the eggs with the cream, garlic, basil and cayenne. Add the cheese.

6

Place 1 eggplant slice in each ramekin. Layer 3 or 4 zucchini slices over to cover. Strew a few pepper strips around the sides of the ramekin. Repeat with the remaining eggplant, zucchini and peppers, ending with eggplant. Press down slightly. Ladle egg mixture over each.

7

Place the ramekins in a deep baking dish. Pour boiling water into the dish to come halfway up sides of ramekins. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the custard comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.

8

Remove the ramekins from the water bath and cool slightly on rack before unmolding. Run small spatula around the perimeter to loosen, then turn out onto plate. Flip over with a larger spatula.

Use 4-ounce (3-inch diameter) ramekins.

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