Wisdom Comes Suddenly

Smitten Kitchen’s Ratatouille Sub

November 19th, 2013 · No Comments


I cannot explain why, but I’ve never been brave enough to make ratatouille.  I guess the animated feature intimidated me.  That, and the idea of soggy squash veggies in a pot sounded quite awful.  What you see above belongs in my frying pan, if I’m being honest. But in the spirit of honesty, I should also say that I put on measurable pounds during the summer “grow it, slice it, fry it” season.

I couldn’t get away from the essential question: why ratatouille?  Of all the traditionally French dishes to feature in a movie, why that one? Smitten Kitchen has a recipe which included putting it on a bun and eating it like a sandwich.  WELL OK THEN.  Now we’re taking baby steps towards the ratatouille door.  This I had to try. To make the transition one step easier for me, I baked it in my cast iron frying pan. Like I said, baby steps.

You can get her ratatouille recipe here.

The only change between this recipe and the sandwich version is the bun.  And you can cook it with aluminum foil instead of parchment if you’d like. I made it tonight, and oh-my-cartoon-rat-lovin’ soul, it was SO DAMN GOOD.  I had the tiniest piece of bread left (get the softest, freshest hoagie rolls you can find), and I walked it to the leftovers and scraped it all up.  I didn’t leave a drop.

I wish I could describe the flavor, but it was so rich and complex, I can hardly find the words.  I had enough ingredients left over to make a second pan, which I processed into a sauce for use on a pizza.  Greg hated to see me smash up those beautifully layered vegetables, but when I said, “it’s going on a pizza”, he was OK with my methodology. The second time around I decided it was no fun trying to layer a sweet pepper, so I chopped it up and put it underneath in the tomato sauce.  Yes.  Do it that way. Somewhere there is an accomplished French rat taking umbrage with my changes to this classic dish, but listen here little man, I have a family to feed.  On a weeknight.  With multiplication sheets to correct.  I can’t spend all night squeezing peppers in between egg plant.

Sara said this was the greatest thing she had ever eaten, EVER AND EVER, and she gobbled it down in seconds. Greg said he would have loved this even more layered on a steak sub. That poor rat just passed out from grief. Upon realizing there were strange vegetables stewed in a tomato sauce that included onions hiding out in a bun, Kelly put her tiny head down on the table and cried. She announced her “favorite part of the day had come to an end”. This is the same child who has begged me for weeks to pack a Butterfinger in her lunchbox because it’s her teacher’s favorite candy, and she really wanted to give it to her!!  Today, I did just that.  And who do you think ate that Butterfinger?  In full view of the cafeteria?  I got a very candid and accurate report from Sara, that Kelly was seen eating an entire candy bar at lunch.  Sara said she almost cried until she realized the brand, and she immediately knew the game Kelly had been playing. Sneaky Kel-belle.  I applaud your trickery.  Now eat your fantastically layered vegetables!


Tags: Vegetables