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Sunday, 11 August 2013

Ratatouille.

I do two versions of this that are made at the same time.
The first is a conventional one and the other is made with all the veg very finely chopped and a lot less olive oil, which is served cold like a tapenade.

Slice your aubergines and place in a colader and sprinkle with salt on both sides. place a saucer on top and weight down with a large tin. leave in the fridge or somewhere cool and covered for a few hours.
The salt draws all the water out of the aubergines. If you do not do this your ratatouille will be very very watery and thin.
Give the aubergine slices a squeeze and wash off all the salt drying imediately so none of the water is absorbed back into the aubergine. It is very important you wash all the salt off otherwise you will end up with a very salty stew!
Chop into chuncks and place in a large saucepan with a cup of good quality olive oil (NOT extra virgin).
Put on a very low heat. the idea is to very slowly stew the veg in the oil preventing in from falling apart and turning into a mush.
Add chopped onion, courgette and herbs - I usually use basil and / or parsley as both work well.
Add a good grind of pepper, but at this stage no salt (its best to season with salt after it has cooked on and been tasted as you can never tell how much salt was left on the aubergines).
After cooking through these vegatable add chopped red pepper and cook through.
Taste and add salt if needed.
Serve with rice, boiled potatoes or pasta.

This is a dish that is better the following day - I usually let it cool off the heat a few times while cooking as the stop / start seems to improve the flavour and stops the vegatables disitergrating into mush.

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