Indian Summer Casserole

Adapted from "Still Life With menu"
Preparation time: 40 minutes, plus another 35 minutes to bake
Yield: 4 to 5 servings
Highly seasoned vegetables are combined with olives, chiles, and cheese, then a custard is poured over the top and the whole thing bakes to perfection. This is a wonderful, light entrée for a warm, lazy evening. Serve it with some hot, buttered tortillas.

This recipe is named in honor of that time of year when corn, peppers, and fresh basil are peaking,and late crops of tomatoes are barely ripe. If you can't get green tomatoes, use the firmest and least ripe ones you can find.

A little butter or oil for the pan
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups corn (fresh or frozen)
3 large bell peppers (a combination of colors), chopped
2 medium-sized underripe tomatoes, diced
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 cup chopped scallions (whites and greens)
Several leaves fresh basil, minced
1/4 cup minced parsley
Freshly ground black pepper
Cayenne to taste
1/2 cup pitted, sliced olives (any kind)
1 small Anaheim or poblano chile, minced (or 1 4-ounce can diced green chiles)
1 packed cup grated jack cheese
4 eggs
1 cup buttermilk or yogurt
Paprika for the top
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter or oil an 8-inch square baking pan or its equivalent.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet. Add the corn, bell peppers, tomatoes, garlic, salt, cumin, and oregano, and sauté quickly over medium-high heat. After about 8 minutes, when the bell peppers are tender, remove from heat.
  3. Add the scallions, basil, parsley, black pepper, cayenne, olives, chiles, and cheese, and stir until the cheese melts. Spread this mixture into the prepared baking pan.
  4. Beat the eggs together with the buttermilk or yogurt. Gently pour the custard over the vegetables. Sprinkle the top with paprika.
  5. Bake uncovered for 35 minutes. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.
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