Monday, July 25, 2011

Ratatouille Pizza

As I was afraid, when I googled ratatouille to make sure I was spelling it correctly, the first three search items were about the animated film. Nothing like associating French cuisine with a talking rodent.

Then again, in our apartment, we automatically associate ratatouille with an outrageous French accent and the gratuitous use of the three French phrases we know: oui, oui; impossible (approximately *ahm-pos-seeb-leh*); and les poissons. I had to turn on some Edith Piaf and stick my recently acquired Bastille Day flag above my desk in order to channel the appropriate je ne sais quoi for writing about pizza.

The wine, unfortunately, is Australian, so it's not helping much.

Ratatouille, for the layperson, is a traditional French dish of stewed vegetables, usually high summer veggies like tomatoes, eggplant (aubergine), zucchini, bell peppers, onions, garlic, basil and marjoram. I have always thought of it as a way to use up garden excess while producing a delicious, colorful meal.

Even though our zucchini plant succumbed to destructive squash bugs the other week and our tomatoes seem averse to actually ripening, we realized we had a pretty good assortment of the necessary ingredients on hand. There were a few leftover zucchini in our fridge, a green tomato fell off the vine when we were trying to fix the stake, our white Japanese eggplant were reaching full size, and various peppers were turning red.

The combination is tres délicieux, although you should feel free to substitute whatever fresh summer produce you have on hand.

TOPPINGS (layered in this order):
  1. Very best pizza crust ever, par-baked
  2. finely chopped garlic
  3. diced tomatoes (fresh if you have them; we used some leftover canned ones)
  4. sliced green tomatoes (if you have abundant ripe tomatoes, combine #3 and #4)
  5. very thinly sliced zucchini
  6. thinly sliced onion
  7. shredded mozarella
  8. very thinly sliced eggplant, tossed in olive oil (I recommend small, skinny Japanese eggplants. If you use a larger eggplant, be sure to salt it for 20 minutes and press out some of the liquid before putting on the pizza)
  9. thinly sliced red bell peppers or mild cherry peppers 
Bake at 350 degrees F (lower than usual) for about 15 minutes (longer than usual), until the eggplant is tender all the way through. Top with grated Parmesan and an assortment of chopped fresh herbs such as basil, marjoram, oregano, etc.

Bon appétit!

No comments:

Post a Comment