Farcis à la Niçoise

Lightly Stuffed Vegetables

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • For

    6

    people

Appears in

The Cuisine of the Sun

By Mireille Johnston

Published 1990

  • About

Like the crudités et bagna cauda and salade niçoise, farcis are a summer staple in Nice. On Sundays and festive days, housewives and children carry large trays of freshly stuffed vegetables to the village baker's oven, returning at noon to pick up their crisp, golden farcis.

Served at most picnics or buffets, farcis are usually prepared in large quantities, since they are delicious warm or cold. Be sure to choose small vegetables and not to overstuff them.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 medium-sized or 6 small eggplants, with stems removed and cut in half lengthwise
  • 6 green bell peppers, with the bottom end cut off and seeded
  • 6 onions, peeled
  • 6 small cucumbers, peeled
  • 6 small zucchini, with stems removed
  • 6 medium-sized tomatoes
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped beef, lamb, or ham
  • ½ cup chopped lean salt pork
  • 3 cups cooked rice
  • 1 cup finely chopped Italian parsley
  • 2 teaspoons thyme
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan or Swiss cheese
  • ½ cup bread crumbs (preferably homemade)

Method

Preheat the oven to 350°. Lightly oil the eggplants and peppers with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and place on an oiled baking dish (you may need two). Bake for 10 minutes. Scoop out the pulp from the eggplants and set aside in a large bowl.

Heat a large pot of salted water. Blanch the whole onions, cucumbers, and zucchini for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove them with a slotted spoon.

Prepare the vegetable shells, which should be about ½ inch thick so that they are firm enough to hold the filling. Cut the onions in half crosswise and remove the centers, leaving about 3 layers of skin. Cut the zucchini and cucumbers in half and scoop out the pulp. Cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise, sprinkle with salt, and leave them upside down to drain for 10 minutes; gently squeeze out excess juice and scoop out the pulp. Add the onion centers and the pulp of the zucchini, cucumbers, and tomatoes to the eggplant pulp in the bowl, and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375°. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large frying pan and add the chopped onion. Cook gently for 5 minutes, or until tender. Stir in the pulp of all the vegetables and then the meat, salt pork, rice, parsley, thyme, garlic, salt, and pepper. (Taste before adding salt because it may not be needed with salt pork and ham.) Cook over a low flame, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Turn off the flame and add the eggs. (The stuffing should be fairly solid, but if you think it is too dry, add a chopped tomato.)

Place the vegetable shells on one or two oiled baking dishes. Fill them with the stuffing and sprinkle with cheese. Sprinkle bread crumbs only on the tomatoes and onions. Dribble olive oil over all the vegetables and bake for 30 minutes. Serve hot (preferably) or cold.