Friday, December 19, 2008

CSA week three - Roasted ratatouille

Just a short note on this simple dish. I attempted to follow the recipe by Clotilde Dusoulier at the Chocolate and Zuchini blog that I pointed out earlier but had some small difficulty.

First off, it's one of those annoying recipes that feed a crowd but don't mention it. In fact, it's actively misleading since it says to put all of the sliced vegetables into a pan, but it would take a restaurant pan to fit them all.

I halved the recipe and still used both my 13x9 and 11x8 pans. Maybe that's optional; I kept the vegetables to a single layer to maximize the benefits of roasting, but you don't really have to if you just want to get everything cooked. I'm going make the other half tonight and I'll just pile everything up and stir it occassionally to compare and contrast.

Now that I take another look, Clotilde just assumes the reader knows what size to cut the vegetables, whether to stir, what size pan to use, how to judge when things are done. I managed to figure it out and so did a lot of other commentators on the post. Maybe I should give my readers more credit.

Anyway, I added some chicken sausage to the veges to make it more of a main dish, and used oregano instead of rosemary to make it a bit more Italian to match the sausage but otherwise I just chopped everything up into big chunks, tossed with salt pepper and olive oil and stuck it into the oven for a half hour covered with foil and a half hour without and the results were just dandy (although another 15 minutes for extra roastiness would have been worth the minor drying out I was worried about).

On the other hand, they were a just dandy roasted vegetable mix and not really a proper ratatouille to my mind. Maybe it's just me, but if the vegetables aren't melting into each other and blending flavors it's not quite right. I found a dash of balsamic vinegar tied things together well. Clotilde suggests a poached egg. Some mild feta or goat cheese would work too. Why not all three?

I think for the second batch I'm going to toss in some southern-style smoked sausages and add fresh sage to match flavors. These vegetables are so common they can match with a wide variety of flavor profiles and still work.


kat said...

Roasted vegetables is one of my favorite go to meals but I never thought to add some of our sausage to it, great idea!

billjac said...

Just adding chunks of raw sausage at the start worked perfectly and easily bumps it up to a one-dish dinner from a traditional side-dish. I also like how it adds another dimension of varying flavors to play with. I've looked around a little for a French sausage that would match well with the traditional ratatouille herbs and there are some good options but I think next time I'd like to try it with a north African lamb merguez sausage instead.