Ratatouille with spongy semolina crepes

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by: Ana Banana






I hadn’t made ratatouille for years—l was too busy making other things. But sitting down once again to this silky stew was like settling in with an old friend. If you’re not in a rush, ratatouille is pure pleasure to make. It wants nurturing and in turn is relaxing to assemble. The various small tasks stack up nicely and can mostly be done while the onions are slowly melting. You might as well make plenty, because given a day or two, ratatouille only gets better. Cold, it makes a delicious member of the mezze plate, and leftovers can also go into a frittata, a pasta, or on top of a pizza or bruschetta. Served hot, it’s good with these unusual spongy semolina crepes or saffron rice. The ratatouille is vegan, but the pancakes are not. Given all the vegetables in a ratatouille, you might start your meal with something uncomplicated, such as baked ricotta with thyme or crostini with spicy tapenade and goat cheese. For dessert, I’d offer a plate of fresh figs and raspberries with a Muscat sabayon. And for wine, a Provencal rose would be a classic choice.




ingredients

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serves: 4-6

6 tablespoons olive oil

2 large onions, thinly sliced

2 medium eggplants (about 11/2 pounds, cut into 1-inch cubes)

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

5 tomatoes, peeled and seeded

3-4 thick-fleshed bell peppers, red and yellow

6 zucchini (about 1 1/2 pounds, quartered lengthwise and cut into 3-inch lengths)

2 thyme branches

6 large basil leaves, torn into pieces

3 sprigs marjoram or oregano

Spongy Semolina Crépes or Saffron Rice

minced parsley for garnish

Nutrition Facts
Ratatouille with spongy semolina crepes

Servings Per Recipe: 4

Amount per Serving

Calories: 742

  • Total Fat: 26.6 g
  •     Saturated Fat: 4.2 g
  •     Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Sodium: 122 mg
  • Total Carbs: 122.2 g
  •     Dietary Fiber: 58.2 g
  •     Sugars: 65.9 g
  • Protein: 28.3 g
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preparation

1.  Warm 1 tablespoon of the oil in a Dutch oven. Add the onions and stir. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to low, and cook for go minutes, stirring occasionally, while you prepare the rest of the vegetables. Toward the end, they should be soft, a bit juicy, and not at all browned.

2.  While the onions are cooking, toss the eggplant with 1 teaspoon salt and set aside. Cut the tomatoes into 1-inch pieces. Char the peppers all over (under the broiler or in an open flame), then drop them into a plastic bag to steam for 15 minutes. Wipe off the burned skin, remove the seeds, and slice into lengths a scant 1/2 inch wide.

3.  When the onions are ready, heat 1 tablespoon of the remaining oil in a wide skillet over high heat and saute the zucchini until golden in places, about 5 minutes. Add the zucchini to the pot along with the peppers.

4.  Give the eggplant a quick rinse, then wrap it in a towel and press to wick up the moisture. Heat the remaining oil in the same skillet. Add the eggplant, stir immediately, and then saute over medium-high heat until nicely colored, 8 to 10 minutes. Add it to the onions, followed by the tomatoes. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and add the herbs. Cover and cook very gently over very low heat.

5.  When the vegetables are tender, after go minutes or so, remove the lid and raise the heat to reduce the juices to a thick sauce, gently turning the vegetables as the juices bubble. If there is a great deal of juice, pour it into a saucepan and reduce until covered with bubbles and thickened, then pour it back in the pot. Taste for salt and season with pepper.

6.  Make the crepes and serve them with the vegetables. Or make the rice, press it into a ramekin or teacup, then turn it out onto the plate, surround with the vegetables, and garnish with a bit of fresh minced parsley.

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