Sunday, September 25, 2011

summer garden ratatouille

Remember when I talked about how my cooking often looks like a hot mess? Maybe it's just things that involve eggplant, but Friday's dinner was amazing and less than photogenic. I made summer garden ratatouille,* since I finally had everything from one CSA box I needed to make the classic French peasant dish.

Is it really a classic French peasant dish? I get that information directly from the movie Ratatouille, which I loved, and have to remind myself not to call rap-a-too-tee because a first grader adamantly corrected me once. (I pronounced it correctly; he very clearly enunciated the way it was supposed to be said).

However you say it, ratatouille is incredible.

I started by sauteeing 2 onions, a lot of garlic, and a bay leaf in 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Next I added 2 small Chinese eggplants (instead of the one medium the recipe asks for), fresh basil, dried rosemary and marjoram, and a bit of salt. Here's where things started to look questionable.I decided to deglaze my pan with 1/4 cup sherry (not in the recipe at all) before proceeding with the rest, since the eggplant and onion mixture was sticking to the bottom after cooking for about 15 minutes. I added in 4 small Mexican squash (which looked like small zucchini) and 10 chopped roma tomatoes (the recipe said 2 cups-- I didn't bother with measuring). The recipe called for 2 bell peppers, but I didn't have them so I left them out. I let the whole thing simmer and break down, and then I served the ratatouille over pasta.
This slightly unfortunate looking vegetable dish is, without a doubt, one of the most delicious things I've ever made. EDW was blown away, and I couldn't quite get over it either. The whole thing just tasted so fresh and perfect, and we were sad to eat the last of the leftovers today. I do think the sherry gave it a little pop of flavor, so I would be sure to use the deglazing step if you decide to make this for yourself. All in all, it was a perfect meal for the final days of summer. *Lind, Mary Beth and Cathleen Hockman-Wert. Simply in Season. "Summer Garden Ratatouille." p. 125.

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