August 1, 2011
By this point, you should know that you should never believe me when I say I’m going to blog more often. It’s just never going to happen.
No, I haven’t cooked anything from that William and Sonoma cookbook.
Yes, I know I said I was going to.
Yes, I said it was going to inspire me.
No, it didn’t.
Yes, I suck.
However, in the past week or so I have started cooking things that I actually WANT to blog about! Therefore, Cooking with Fel is back in action! At least, for now…
I’ve had ratatouille on my mind for the past couple of weeks for multiple reasons. First off, it’s summer – if you haven’t noticed, there are crates of beautiful zucchini and squash and tomatoes floating around the markets. If you’re looking for a dish that fully embraces summer vegetables, look no further than ratatouille. Secondly, I recently bought a Japanese mandoline slicer and this baby can SLICE. Piles of paper-thin vegetables, with no effort at all!
Ample summer vegetables + a slice happy Felicia = a recipe for ratatouille.
Its presentation might look tricky but honestly, ratatouille is so very easy to make, especially if you have a good slicer. If you don’t have a mandoline, you really should think about getting one – my mandoline is easily one of my top 3 kitchen investments ever, behind my Global knives and tri-clad pans.
Just to note, I did make a couple modifications to the original recipe from Smitten Kitchen, which I’ve incorporated below. Rather than chopping the onions, I just sliced the onions extremely thinly on my mandoline (almost to the point of being transparent) and layered it into the sauce. (Really, I was just lazy and didn’t want to wash another knife, but it worked out pretty well!) Additionally, since I was baking it in a very small casserole dish, I created three or four layers of vegetables, rather than just the single layer in the original recipe. (From a cross section, it almost looks like a vegetable lasagna rather than individual slices of squash.)
Plated over a some warm quinoa, this was a great vegetarian dish!
Modified From: Ratatouille’s Ratatouille by Smitten Kitchen
* 1/2 onion, very thinly sliced
* 2 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
* 1 cup tomato puree
* 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
* 1 small eggplant
* 1 smallish zucchini
* 1 smallish yellow squash
* Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Pour tomato puree into bottom of a dish. Drop the sliced garlic cloves and sliced onion into the sauce, stir in one tablespoon of the olive oil and season the sauce generously with salt and pepper.
Trim the ends off the eggplant, zucchini and yellow squash. On a mandoline, adjustable-blade slicer or with a very sharp knife, cut the eggplant, zucchini and yellow squash into very thin slices, approximately 1/16-inch thick.
Atop the tomato sauce, arrange slices of prepared vegetables, overlapping so just a smidgen of each flat surface is visible, alternating vegetables. (You may have a handful leftover that do not fit.) Drizzle the remaining tablespoon olive oil over the vegetables and season them generously with salt and pepper. Cover dish with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit inside.
Bake for approximately 45 to 55 minutes, until vegetables have released their liquid and are clearly cooked, but with some structure left so they are not totally limp. They should not be brown at the edges, and you should see that the tomato sauce is bubbling up around them.
Serve with a dab of soft goat cheese on top, alone, or with some crusty French bread, atop polenta, couscous, or your choice of grain.