It's finally started to cool down. Or maybe Brisbane is psyching me out after all that ridiculous heat we just had.
Either way, on the weekend I found myself wanting vegetables again, cooked. Not another bloody salad!
One of my mother and my favourite recipes is ratatouille. Well, recipe is a strong word. It's a vegetable 'stew' of sorts using tomato, eggplant, zucchini, red capsicum, onion and garlic. It's basically tomato-based and the other vegetables are a bonus. So if I don't have eggplant for example, I won't bother going out to buy it, I"ll just use what I have.
The beautiful aspects of ratatouille include:
Large quantities can be made at once very easily.
It freezes well
Complements fish, steak, chicken and I'd even argue eggs, too. Gives you a 'baked eggs/Shakshouka' vibe.
Great way to use up fresh herbs: parsley, basil, chives, thyme, rosemary, fennel and dill all go wonderfully. This can also help tie the dish into whatever meat you may be serving with it
You can reduce it down and use it as pizza sauce, or a simple pasta sugo
You can add chilli if you're into it
So, how do you do it?
Well it begins like this:
Prep your veg. Roughly chop your eggplant, capsicums, zucchinis and tomatoes. Tinned tomatoes or passata are excellent substitutes if you're running low on the fresh kind.
Finely dice or mince your garlic ( I use up to 5 cloves for a 1 litre saucepan because I love it), and dice up an onion, if using.
Get your herbs ready!
1 cup - chicken or vegetable stock (homemade, bought, whatever suits)
Drop a little bit of olive oil in the pan, or macadamia oil if you have it. Sweat down the onion and garlic on low heat until translucent. I was super lazy the other day and used some leftover homemade salsa a girlfriend made me and used that as a flavour base instead of doing my own onion and garlic. Worked a charm and #nowastage.
Tumble in all other chopped vegetables, and woody herbs if you're using. Leafy herbs can go in right at the end. Stir to coat vegetables in oil and the fragrant onion and garlic. You can deglaze with a little balsamic vinegar or wine at this point if it's getting a bit dry. You can also deglaze your palate with wine at this point if it's getting a bit dry! ;)
Add stock, and put the lid on the saucepan. Turn heat to low and simmer until vegetables are soft and falling apart, stirring occassionally. This can take 30 minutes or more depending on your quantities. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then add your leafy herbs such as basil or parsley.
Serve as is, or as a side to some fresly grilled fish, steak or chicken. DELICIOUS.
Shaved parmesan or some equally sharp cheese complements well, too.
*NB: This gets even better the next day, as most dishes containing garlic tend to do!
PS: No photos because I didnt' take any, plus it's not that pretty anyway. BUT: it is delicious, healthy and versatile so what more do you want from me! Jeez!!