Thursday, January 17, 2013

Ratatouille and Poached Egg


I found myself in a très Provençal mood the other night.  I turned my dining room into an Avignon farmhouse: threw some lavender in mason jars, created an Edith Piaf station on Pandora, and immediately set to chopping vegetables for a ratatouille - a French dish of roasted and stewed vegetables.  It can be made with whatever vegetables you have on hand (although what I list below are the standard ingredients) and is completely customizable.  Eat it hot, warm, or cold. Serve it on bread, on rice, tossed with pasta, or on its own as a side dish.  Here, I pair it with a couple poached eggs for a hearty (yet healthy) full meal.  Pour some bordeaux, light the fire, and get transported. Bon appetit.

Servings: 6
Prep time: 90 minutes

12 Eggs (2 per person)
Brown rice
White vinegar
1 lb Zucchini (about 6 small ones), cut into chunks
2 Small Eggplant, in 1/2 inch slices
6 Plum Tomatoes, sliced into rings
1 Large Yellow Onion, sliced
3 Bell Peppers (yellow, red or orange), sliced
10 Garlic Cloves, peeled and cut in half
6 Tablespoon Olive Oil
Herbs de Provence (or thyme, marjoram, whatever's on hand)
Salt and Pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, and make sure all of your vegetables are chopped.  In a cast-iron skillet or oven-safe casserole dish, swirl a couple tablespoons of olive oil to coat.   Layer half of the onion slices on the bottom, topped by half of the eggplant, half the zucchini, half the bell peppers, half the tomatoes, and half the garlic cloves. Drizzle with a few more tablespoons of olive oil, and sprinkle liberally with salt, pepper and herbs de provence. 

Layer the vegetables
Repeat. (How easy is this?)

You can never add too much seasoning
Gently press the mixture down with a spatula, and place in oven.  The ratatouille should roast for about an hour; toss the vegetables every 20 minutes so the vegetables soften evenly.  It's incredibly difficult to overcook this dish, so keep it in as long as you'd like, til the vegetables have the color and texture you're looking for. 

Ratatouille out of the oven
Before removing the pan from the oven, cook your rice according to the package.  Bring a pot of water to simmer (not boiling) on the stove with a few dashes of white vinegar.  You won't taste the vinegar, but it helps the egg whites stay bound to the egg (otherwise you'll get a bit of egg drop soup).  Gently crack as many eggs into the pot as will fit comfortably, and with a slotted spoon make sure they stay separate as they gently simmer.  You'll get a perfectly poached egg in about 4 minutes. Remove each egg with a slotted spoon and keep warm in a small bowl coated with olive oil. Repeat until you've poached enough eggs.

Poached eggs on ratatouille and rice
To serve: scoop one serving brown rice in a bowl, top generously with ratatouille, and 2 gently-placed poached eggs. Season with salt and pepper, and feel free to serve with baguette: you'll want to sop up the leftover yolk and vegetable sauce at the bottom! 

Nutrition info (1 serving): coming soon!
Calories , Total Fat: g, Sat. Fat: g, Cholesterol: mg, Sodium: mg, Carb: g, Fiber: g, Sugars: g, Protein: g 

One Response so far.

  1. Mary says:

    this looks so good! i can't wait to make it!

Leave a Reply

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