My favorite weekend pastime…

Usually, I realize after the fact that I have missed Lynne Rossetto Kasper and her Splendid Table show on NPR.  This weekend I made sure to make time to listen (alas while I was cleaning house, however.)

Lynne had on Francis Lam who talked about his “Weapons Grade Ratatouille.”  He was so expressive and excited about this comfort dish, I went to his website to research it more.   

I decided to modify his recipe with the produce I had on hand.  It takes a while to make this dish, but it did lend itself to being made as I breezed by briefly to chop or stir as I was trying to clean house.

Local Ratatouille (My Version of “Weapons Grade”)

1/2 cup olive oil
1 head garlic, minced (harvested in early summer)
3 medium red onions, chopped (harvested in early summer)
2 shallots, minced (recently pulled)
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
1 small green bell pepper, 1 small golden bell pepper, and 1 large red bell pepper (just picked)
3 cups of homemade roasted tomato sauce (see roasted tomato sauce recipe)
2 zucchinis (homegrown by mom), diced (about 8 cups)
4 slender Japanese eggplants, diced (from the farmers’ market) (about 6 cups)
Thyme and basil from the herb garden

Place 1/2 c. of good olive oil and place in a large sauce pan.  Heat oil on medium high heat, add garlic, onions, and shallots.  Stir and reduce heat to low.  Do not let them brown.  Season with salt and pepper and let it go! (I ended up cooking them, stirring often, for about 45 minutes.)

Long simmering onions and garlic

Rough chop peppers (any combination of bell peppers will work).  Place peppers in a blender and puree. You should have about 1 cup of pureed peppers; if you need more, add a few jarred roasted red peppers and puree them as well.  According to Francis, once the onions become “a pale golden sticky mess,” add the pureed peppers and “let it get all nice and friendly.”   Let everything cook down so it resembles a “rich, rusty jam.”  Stir often (about 45 more minutes). 

Ratatouille "Jam"

When it all looks “jammy,” add the homemade tomato sauce and more salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil and then simmer while you do the next steps.  Stir often.  (OK, at this point, it smells wonderful and would make a great pasta sauce!)

My local veggies.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  (Keep stirring the tomatoes).  Toss the chopped veggies in olive oil and salt and pepper.  Place in a large baking dish and roast for about 45 minutes. Stir about three times during cooking. 

Ready to roast.

Remove veggies from oven and set aside.  Stir herbs into tomato base.  (I used about three sprigs of thyme and about 1/8 of a cup of basil; however, I will probably add some more fresh basil before I serve this.)

Roasted veggies.

Carefully stir in veggies.  Francis says to let this set in the fridge and it is even better the next day—which is great for me because I was planning on having this for at least one dinner and a couple of lunches this week!

Finished and ready to serve.

Much thanks to Francis Lam, a senior writer at Salon,and Lynne Rossetto Kasper who hosted him this week on The Splendid Table.

Eggplant on FoodistaEggplant

Comments are closed.