I absofuckinlutely love meat. BUT… I absofuckinlutely love veggies too. The first mate came aboard and says “where’s the meat babe?” I just laughed and gave him a spatula full. The scarfing that ensued reinforces the method to my madness! The neighbor even came by and tried to invoke parlay when I forced him to try some (he doesn’t really “do veggies”)… he licked that shit up. So, good. Now I usually wait until the beginning of spring to make this dish when the air is still crisp and the Japanese eggplant MIGHT actually be in stock at my local stores. NO such luck this week. I just had too many zucchinis, tomatoes and yellow squashes to not make this. I’ve done it several times now and I decided it needed baby Portobello mushrooms this time…. No recipe on the sea nor land is safe from my imagination! Ratatouille is originally a French side dish from poor folks, made from scrap veggies. FYI: Poor folks make some damn good grub. When the movie Ratatouille came out, the minion was all excited about making this dish with me. ( It doesn’t mean he will actually eat it, but he tried it.) That’s what made me start looking up different variations. Some say sautéing all of the veggies together is right, some say to cook them separately. This one ruffian says to simmer them in a pot……
“The secret of a good ratatouille is to cook the vegetables separately so each will taste truly of itself.” – Joel Robuchon
Julia Child’s version involves sautéing the eggplant, squash and zucchini separately and then layering them whilst the tomatoes, onion, garlic and bells are made into a piperade sauce bed and baked. I like that shit… and it’s Julia Fucking Child… so I twisted her recipe up…. and put it in my pipe…. and smoked it. Twice.
- 1 eggplant (or 2-3 Japanese eggplants if your lucky enough to find them)
- 1 short fat zucchinis
- 1 short fat yellow squash
- 1 skinny long red bell pepper
- 2-3 large baby bella shrooms
- red pepper flakes
- 1 whole Roasted red pepper (do this before in the oven with EVOO and have it skinned & ready)
- 1/2 large yellow onion – chopped
- 2 whole roasted garlic cloves
- 1 box of tomato chunks or 2-3 medium vine ripe tomatoes (cans of tomatoes are bad for you…. see here why: canned tomatoes are bad mmkay?
- herbs de province
- Himalayan pink salt
- EVOO – I still love this brand –Texas Hill Country Olive Oil
……optional (but suggested):
- goat cheese crumbles
- 1-2 cups precooked couscous (I prefer the large pearls)
……the sauce magic:
- blend chopped onion, tomato, roasted pepper, garlic, herbs, oil and salt in a food processor until it is thick and drinkable. (now would be a great time for a bloody mary!)
- pour this bloody sauce into any large dish, like a 9X13 or a round, or a tart dish…what ever you got…. I used my favorite dish. See here:…cazuela’s fucking rock
……the veggie magic:
- preheat oven to 375*
- slice all veggies thin You can use a mandoline slicer but I quit using mine due to loosing my muthafuckn finger tips occasionally. (I may or may not have been drinking). My swashbuckling skills are better than that stupid contraption anyhow. Make these slices about 1/4 of an inch. Too thin and they fall apart, too thick and they don’t cook. The eggplant can be thinner because its so damn chewy.
- start a circle or spiral layering process from the outside in. I like to start with eggplant (because its stronger and bigger )then, zucchini, then squash, then red bell, then mushroom.
- top that shit with thyme, drizzle with EVOO and cover it with foil or parchment paper.
- bake this badassery for about 45-55 min. I like mine more crunchy and not falling apart, savy?
Now the French pirate in me likes to scoop some of this onto a plate of soft couscous pearls and top it with creamy goat cheese and have it with a velvety sweet red wine…… but the first mate says shredded gouda is better. lol. This stuff does not stay in the fridge…I have to make two usually. It’s that fucking good. Pardon my French but…. Bon Appetit mutha fuckas. Try new things every day, you might be surprised!