Most Recent Post
The Minimalist Cook’s Simplest Ratatouille
To see the recipe on the web page with accompanying photographs click on the above link.
4 Tb olive oil
2 red bell peppers, finely diced
2 tsp minced garlic
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
1 large can crushed tomatoes
1 sprig of fresh thyme, or 1 tsp dried
1 sprig of fresh parsley or 1 tsp dried
1 bay leaf
1/2 lb skinny eggplant, sliced in 1/16″ rounds
1/2 lb zucchini, sliced in 1/16″ rounds
1/2 lb summer squash, sliced in 1/16″ rounds
1/2 lb roma tomatoes, sliced in 1/16″ rounds
1 Tb olive oil
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp thyme
Kosher salt & fresh ground pepper
2 Tb olive oil
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
Fresh thyme leaves
Kosher salt & fresh ground pepper
Begin with the piperade by sauteeing the red bell peppers, diced onion, and garlic in 4 Tb olive oil in a 12″ ovenproof skillet until peppers soften–be sure not to scorch the garlic. Add the crushed tomatoes, thyme, parsley, and bay leaf, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is nearly gone. This takes about 20 minutes. Remove from heat.
In the meantime, slice the vegetables and stir together the olive oil, garlic, thyme, and salt and pepper.
Scoop a couple tablespoons of the piperade and set aside for the vinaigrette. Smooth the remaining sauce evenly across the bottom of the skillet, and wipe off smudges from the top and sides. Starting in the center of the skillet, arrange the vegetable slices in a spiraling fan all the way to the edge of the pan.
You might not need quite all of the vegetables you’ve sliced. Once the arrangement suits your eye, brush the oil mixture over the tops of the veggies.
If you have parchment paper on hand, cut a circle of it to fit the pan and tuck it over the veggies,
then cover the top of the pan tightly with aluminum foil. The parchment is intended to keep the tomatoey piperade from reacting with the aluminum foil.
Bake for 2 hours at 275F. Remove the foil and parchment paper, then bake for 30 minutes more. If the veggies gave off too much water, put the skillet on the stovetop and simmer until the sauce is once again thickened and the liquid evaporated. At this point the ratatouille can be cooled and refrigerated for up to two days, and reheated in a 350F oven until warm.
For serving, combine the reserved 2 Tb piperade with the 2 Tb olive oil, balsamic vinegar, thyme, and salt and pepper into a vinaigrette. To try to serve it like it is in the movie, use an offset spatula or long knife to take up a length of the vegetables, start to set it on the center of the serving plate, then turn the knife to fan or spiral the vegetables. This is very tricky in real life, as opposed to animation Otherwise, simply cut the ratatouille into sixths or eighths and fan each serving out on a plate with a drizzle of the vinaigrette.
The Newsletter Exclusive Recipe
A confession: In future newsletters I plan to publish a new and original recipe never before seen anywhere else but time got the better of me. I was already running late with this newsletter so an executive decision was made and the recipe was shelved for this edition only. I promise to try harder next month. Anyway, here is one from the ebook: for a warming chicken chili:
Here’s a quick and spicy one-pan supper that assembles in
minutes. You can find jerk seasoning spice blends in the
spice display in most grocery stores. Experiment to find the
one you like best.
Heat a little oil in a big skillet and brown
1 lb ground chicken
½ pound chopped onions
1 Tb finely chopped fresh garlic (2-3 cloves, or use prepared
garlic available in jars)
1 Tb jerk seasoning spices, such as McCormick’s
Stir everything together and don’t let the garlic burn.
When onions are soft, add:
1 can black beans
1 can diced tomatoes
1 cup frozen corn kernels
3 Tb brown sugar
Stir and deglaze the pan and reduce the heat to let the
flavors blend for @ 10 minutes
1 Tb lime juice (bottled is fine)
salt to taste
Alternative: skip the ground chicken, start with sauteeing the
onions, and add 12 oz canned chicken breast, drained, with
the beans and tomatoes.