Based on and inspired by some great versions of ratatouille niçoise, I tried to recreate those strong flavours of the stewed vegetables while also adding a few extra complimentary touches that both fortify the French flavours and add a touch of Italian influence.
Placing the ingredients into a stack, provides a nice visual presentation and offers guests a lovely gift of flavours hidden in a wrapped present on the plate.
Note: I know I said I don’t want to put posts up until after I have cooked and photographed them, but due to a change in plans for the way my weekend was meant to pave out, I will be cooking in a foreign kitchen and will not be able to access the net beyond my phone’s capabilities until late Saturday night or early Sunday morning. Thus, I will place the recipes up live now and will return to remove this message and add the photos (along with any further notes or modifications) over the weekend.
- Thyme seasoning mix:
- 3 tsp thyme leaves
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 10 crushed coriander seeds
- Zest mix:
- 1 small lemon zest
- 10 basil leaves, finely chopped
- 10 black olives, stoned, finely chopped
- 4 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp of red wine
- Small (4g/0.1 oz) finely grated black truffle
[OR replace 1 tbsp of Olive oil for one of Truffle oil]
- Small handful flat-leafed parsley, finely chopped
- Prepare Eggplant and Zuchinni
- Take an eggplant, stand it upright, slice down each edge of the vegetable, removing the skin and about 3mm of flesh, no more. Repeat with the Zuchinni.
- Slice the remaining innards into round slices.
- Keep the slices of aubergine and courgette separate.
- Prepare Fennel:
- Preheat the grill.
- Prepare Capsicum
- Top and tail the capsicum and remove the pith and seeds.
- Rub them with olive oil and place skin-side up on the grill tray.
- Grill until they go black all over amd when blackened, place in a bowl and cover tightly with cling film. Leave to steam for ~ five minutes.
- Remove the capsicum and peel them by running under cold water and rubbing the skin off. Once peeled, Cut each slice into 3mm cubes.
- Have ready a fine mesh sieve set over a bowl
- Cook Vegetables:
- Heat a large frying pan and add 2mm of olive oil to pan. When hot, add the eggplants, one layer at a time. Cook for three minutes then tip into sieve allowing it to drain.
- Season with ~ 1/2 tsp of thyme mix. When drained, tip into a bowl.
- Repeat the process with zucchini (on a lower heat).
- Cook for two minutes, drain and season.
- Cook the fennel for five to six minutes (you do not want to under cook the fennel, you do not want it to be crunchy)
- Sauté the onion and garlic on a low heat until translucent. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Place tomatoes into the same frying pan and stir until cooked to a medium softness.
- Prepare stacks
- In a bowl, place the Capsicum, tomatoes, fennel, onion, garlic, the zest and the remaining thyme mixes and stir well.
- Place 4 greased food rings on a lightly greased sheet of baking paper on an oven tray.
- Alternate overlapping layers of eggplant and zucchini skins by placing them in a centred “U” shape across the bottom of the rim with the edges trailing up each side of the rim.
- Then, place the aubergine rounds at the bottom, fill with the vegetable mix and top with the zucchini rounds.
- Place the rings in a preheated 180*C oven for 20 minutes.
- Once cooked, cut the baking paper around each ring
- pick up the ring with a spatula from under the baking paper and place onto the plate
- Slide the paper out from under the ring and then gently remove the ring
- serve on it’s own, atop some rice or alongside some osso bucco
Variations and Notes:
- None to report at this stage