Happy Monday Gourmies
Today’s meal is a warm, comforting dish that remedies the harsh spring storms. As always this meal is very easy to execute and will leave your friends and family impressed wanting more.
A proper Ratatouille includes: Tomato, Zucchini, Eggplant, Onions, Bell Peppers, Carrot, Garlic, and Italian seasonings such as, bay leaf, thyme, or Herbes de Provence. I had many of the listed ingredients but decided that I was going to be a little creative last night. I also find that I tend to throw all of my vegetables into one pot (literally) and am left void of dish determining vegetables throughout the remainder of the week. So, my focus from here on out is to pick a main ingredient and stick to it!
What you need for my simple Eggplant and Onion Only “Ratatouille Niçoise”:
2 Baby Eggplant
1 Medium-Large Yellow Onion
2 Tbs. Olive Oil
1 Jar of Vegetable Pasta Sauce (I used a chunky Tomato with Mushroom and Garlic, so really anything
that encompasses any of the above true Ratatouille ingredients)
Salt + Pepper
Grain (I made spaghetti, but this would be good over quinoa or rice)
This dish is easy, but slightly more time consuming. Make sure to leave yourself the full hour that this
meal will take.
Chop your eggplant as seen in my pictures.
Make sure to cut the eggplant thin. If you want to cut down on cooking time, remove the skin (partly,
Lay out on a cookie rack and salt both sides rather generously. Let the salt extract the water from the
eggplants and dab with a paper towel repeatedly.
I would advise that this process last at least 10 minutes.
This way the eggplant does not splatter in the oil and keeps its integrity (doesn’t get soggy or let the pan get too watery) throughout the cooking process.
Heat a large sauce pan to medium-high heat.
Start chopping your onion.
Make sure to cut the onion thick.
After the onion has been chopped, add the first tablespoon of oil to your pan.
This is one mistake a lot of people make, and is actually a big debate: heat the pan fully, then add your
cooking fat (i.e. butter or oil).
Let the oil heat.
You will know your oil is ready if you tilt the pan (rather dramatically) to one side, and as the oil runs
down to the bottom side it will leave marks almost like rain steadily falling down a window.
A lot of people claim that you will never know when your pan and/or cooking fat is ready, but that is
simply not the case, there are a number of different tricks and many, if not all, professional kitchens do it this way.
You will know if your pan is to searing temperature if, before you add the oil, you splatter a couple of
drops of water onto the pan.
If the water remains in tact as small drops of water dancing around the pan, then you know you have
reached the desired temperature.
If the water fizzles and evaporates immediately, your pan is too hot.
Back to our dish.
Let the onion cook down until they are limp and a light-medium brown color, stir occasionally.
About 10 minutes.
You may need to turn the heat down a little after you have cooked the onions for a few minutes.
Once your pan has reached your desired cooking temp. you may have to adjust the flame to maintain that heat.
Move the onions to the side of the pan, so that there is a large circle of the pan’s surface available for
Add the second tablespoon of olive oil. Let heat. (Don’t test the oil this time!!).
Add the eggplant into the pan so that as many are touching the surface as possible.
This is important because eggplant does need a lot of pan contact to cook thoroughly.
Let the eggplant cook on both side so that the eggplant becomes sort of transparent.
The cooking time will be about 20-25 minutes. (Sorry I forgot a picture here).
Add the entire bottle of pasta sauce.
Let simmer for 20 minutes.
Prepare your grain.
Make sure to note the cooking time before you start making this dish, as some types of rice can take an
hour to cook! To avoid this, I recommend making quinoa or pasta.
Serve the Eggplant and Onion “Ratatouille” over your grain.
Have you ever made a Ratatouille before?
What’s your favorite “stew” like dish?
How do you heat/add cooking fat to your pans?