Ratatouille

ratatouille

If you don’t know, ratatouille is a really healthy and tasty French side dish made up of roasted veg, garlic and basil.

You can make it into a vegetarian main by having a bigger portion with some crusty bread on the side (and maybe some white beans thrown in at the end of cooking), but this time I served it on the side of some smoked mackerel and homemade oven chips.

The flavours of the veg went so well with the salty, smoky fish and it was a fantastic meal – even the chips turned out perfect.  Dave’s not really keen on fish, but he’s trying to eat more of it so we’ve agreed to eat it for dinner once a week (he has tuna sandwiches for lunch a couple of days too).  It’s win win for me because a) I love fish and would totally eat it more if Dave was up for it and b) it means I can blog more fish recipes too.

While he thought the fish was OK, he wasn’t THAT keen, so I’m glad the ratatouille turned out so well because it made me feel better about him not really liking the fish.

If you want to make the same meal, just peel and cut up around 450g potatoes (I like to keep the chips quite chunky as you can see in the picture), toss with vegetable oil and salt and put in the oven on a baking tray at the same time as the ratatouille.  The smoked mackerel was ready-cooked, so I just put into the oven ten minutes before the end to let it warm through.  Easy!

smoked mackerel ratatouille 2

Oh and it’s best to make this meal when you have some basil growing on your windowsill, as it really does make a difference.  Next best thing is to buy one of the little tubs rather than cut basil, as, if you keep it well watered and don’t strip too many of the leaves at once, it should last a good few meals.

Ratatouille (serves two as a side or one as a main meal)

  • Three medium tomatoes, cut into eight pieces
  • 1 1/2 peppers, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 aubergine, cut into smallish chunks, or else 1 small courgette
  • 2 small onions, peeled and cut into chunks (red would be even nicer)
  • 4 cloves garlic, skin on
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • big handful fresh basil

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Mix the tomatoes, peppers, aubergine (or courgette), onion and whole garlic cloves, drizzle in the oil and oregano, and season well.  Pack into a roasting tin and put into the oven.

Cook for around 35-40 minutes, or until the veg is all cooked through and starting to char on the edges.  Pick out the garlic, cut the bottom edge off (the one with a flat edge, not the point at the top) and squeeze the cooked close out of the skin.  Add each one back into the vegetable mix.  Don’t worry – garlic has a mild and lovely flavour when roasted.

Mix everything well, slightly mashing the tomatoes, and toss the fresh basil through.  Serve with crusty bread or use as a side dish.

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