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Ratatatatouille

ratatouille-3.JPGFollowing my Chocolate Chip Cookie triumph recently, I decided to continue the cooking theme of Things That Need A Rest. This is my new, improved, ratatouille (kinda).  Previously, my ratatouille has been a fairly involved process, involving sauteeing, deglazing, simmering, regular checks and a bit of stirring.  For those among my devoted readers who are familiar with my evening routine, the likelihood of each of those steps occurring diminishes with each glass of wine I sip (a graph of this phenomenon would be a simple and straightforward affair, with likelihood of successfully completing each step curving gracefully down as wine consumption increases), with the evening culminating in M saying “hey, weren’t you cooking something?” as the smoke detector goes haywire.

This version, while moderately less authentic than traditional ratatouille (although, since I’m not a charming peasant in Provence, the authenticity of my cooking was always open to debate) is a relaxed and comfortable affair.  I will share my recipe with you, such as it is.

You will need:

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Eggplant
Red capsicum
Zucchini
Tomatoes
Mushrooms
A little onion
Olives
Olive oil
Coarsely-ground salt
A little crushed garlic (optional)

Chop the vegetables quite chunkily and mix them all together in a small oven-proof dish.  Adjust the proportions to suit your taste or needs.  Drizzle with olive oil and a generous handful of coarse salt and mix well.  If you desire garlic, add some now.  Put a lid on the dish and sit it in the fridge for a day or so.  In the interests of full disclosure, I should tell you I once made the dish this far and then forgot about it, discovering it three days later, with no ill effects.  In fact, it was delicious.  The salt, so the theory goes, will draw out liquid from the vegetables, which mixes with the olive oil and creates a delicious sauce.  When you get sick of waiting, pop it in the oven at around 180 degrees (Celsius), with the lid on. Take the lid off after about half an hour, to allow the sauce to thicken. The dish takes around 45 minutes or so to bake, and is delicious served with couscous or pasta.  I recommend crumbling some feta or goat’s cheese through the hot ratatouille and serving over some bagels that you made earlier that week (again – far from authentic Provencal cuisine, but delicious all the same).

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