Friday, August 12, 2005

The Chocolatatouille Lady’s Shabes Dvorim Survival Guide

This is the week. I fantasize about this week all year. This is Ratatouille Week. My CSA basket this week was an all but perfect ratatouille starter-kit (I needed to supplement the tomato—we got one apiece). We got a black bell eggplant, seven adorable little zucchini, six new summer onions, lipstick sweet peepers and a tomato.

Here’s how I made it this time (you are never in the same ratatouille twice). I hold by the “cook each vegetable separately school”of ratatouille-preparation. It does take some time.

1 black bell eggplant (slightly over 2 pounds)
7 small zucchini (slightly under 2 pounds)
8 smallish onions (I didn’t weigh them, but in the ballpark of 2 pounds)
5 large cloves garlic
7 lipstick sweet peppers
6 very ripe medium tomatoes
1 large green jalapeno
extra-virgin olive oil
small bunch parsley (1/3 cup chopped leaves)
small branch dried oregano (1/2 teaspoon)

Cut the eggplant into ¾ inch dice. Lightly salt the cubes with kosher salt and place in a colander to drain.

Slice the zucchini into ¼ inch rounds. Lightly salt the slices with kosher salt and place in a second colander or strainer to drain.

Slice the onion into thin half-moons.

Slice the garlic into slivers (do not chop or mince the garlic).

Scald, peel and seed the tomatoes and cut into chunks.
Slice the jalapeno down one side. Remove seeds and ribs, but leave whole.

Broil 5 of the whole peppers on a sheet of aluminum foil under the broiler. Rotate them so that they are lightly charred but not burned on each side. Fold the foil around the peppers to seal them in and set aside to cool. When they are cool enough to touch, remove the skins.

Peel the other two peppers and julienne.

Heat oil in a cast-iron skillet. Sear the eggplant pieces over medium-high heat. Remove eggplant from skillet and set aside.

Add a little more oil to skillet if needed. Sauté over medium-high heat, and set aside.

(you can have more than one skillet going at once, or you can prepare some of the vegetables in advance and assemble the ratatouille the next day)

Heat some more oil in the skillet turn heat to as low as it can go without going out. Add the onions and stir and cook for several minutes. When the onions are relaxed and golden. add the sliced garlic, the jalapeno, and sliced raw peppers and stir and cook for about five minutes. Raise the heat slightly. Add the eggplant, and a little while later, the zucchini, stir, stir, and then the tomatoes and the broiled peppers. Raise the heat a little more. Cook, stirring occasionally about another 30 minutes. Stir in the chopped parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper.

And watermelons. How about those watermelons? I love the sound a watermelon makes when you first cut into it. It’s somewhere between a sigh and a groan and a creaking door. I think that the watermelon is saying that it feel so good, finally, to get out of that shell.

And sweet corn.

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"The Chocolate Lady’s Shabes Dvorim Survival Guide" is protected by copyright, and is provided at no cost, for your personal use only. You may share it with folks if you like, but only in its entirety including this notice. Any other form of republication, unless with prior written permission of the author, is strictly prohibited. Copyright © 2005 by The Chocolate Lady.

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