Soufico is one of my favorite summer dishes, and it comes from my family’s native island, Ikaria. To make it the traditional way requires patience. You salt each of the vegetables individually and let it drain. Then you sauté each vegetable separately in olive oil, before layering them all together in a large stew pot, Dutch oven, or another heavy pot. People cheat by cooking everything together or by using a deep fryer, but the results pale in comparison to the real thing, a dish of layered, caramelized summer veggies melded together with a copious amount of olive oil, which you can find on my online store here
. When we owned a restaurant on the island, this was our best seller. The word soufico may have originated from the Italian sofocare, “to smother,” as in smothered in all that olive oil! It may also have originated from a word in the local dialect "Sou Afica," which means "I left you some," as in this is so good, you always leave a little for whoever isn't home in time for dinner! Soufico goes exceptionally well with a slice of feta on the side.
You can make soufico in exactly the same way as a stovetop casserole, cooking over very low heat for about an hour.
Adapted from The Country Cooking of Greece (Chronicle Books, 2012)