A blog about cooking and food, and how to make it taste good and be healthy. The dishes are almost all gluten/dairy free, and many are vegetarian. The focus is on techniques and ingredients over recipes - this is about everyday cooking, and that means making it work with whats on hand!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Ratatouille : A Guest Post from Eleanor

Seth invited me over for dinner yet again, offering to make burgers on Udi's gluten free buns. On my way to meet him I stopped by CMart, a small Chinese grocery in Boston's Chinatown and looked around for what seemed freshest. Surprisingly, I left the store with the ingredients for, ratatouille.

Ratatouille is a traditional french dish that usually includes tomatoes, garlic, onions, zucchini, eggplant, and a mix of herbs. I love eggplant and though it's usually thought of as a summer dish, ratatouille is flavorful, hearty, and satisfying.  

While Seth caramelized onions and fried bacon for burgers, I started by cubing the tomatoes, onion and cutting the zucchini and eggplant into sizable chunks. 

According to Wikipedia there is some debate as to how ratatouille should be cooked - Julia Child took a layering approach where the eggplant and zucchini are layered between a sauce of onion, garlic, and tomatoes and baked. Another approach is to layer it and then simmer it in a large pan.

sautéed it, which is the simplest approach and the only way I have seen ratatouille served. I began with the onions sauteing them in olive oil for 5 minutes or until slightly translucent. Next I added the bell peppers and garlic and simmered covered for 3 more. Then I added the zucchini and eggplant with little more olive oil to the pan and allowed those to meld for 10 minutes. Lastly, I added the spinach and tomatoes along with a handful of springs of fresh thyme, allowing it to cook another 10 minutes or so until the tomatoes just began to breakdown. 

A little balsamic vinegar (Mediterranean spin), salt, and pepper to finish. And as the french would say - voilà! The perfect side for the perfect burgers.

1 comment:

  1. The burgers were Trader Joe's organic ground beef, 1/4 lb patties. The bacon was thick-cut, applewood smoked and nitrate free, also from Trader Joe's. The onions were a sweet onion, sliced and cooked at low heat with salt for about an hour.

    The bacon was cooked first in a cast-iron frying pan, and the burgers were cooked in that grease, after excess had been poured off.