Ratatouille With Spicy Harissa Sauce and 92 Point Matthews Syrah

Ratatouille ingredients:
1 Japanese eggplant
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup diced onion
1 zucchini
1/2 red bell pepper
2 ripe tomatoes
1/2 tsp. basil
1/4 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. thyme
1/8 tsp. cumin
splash of red wine
1 bay leaf
Harissa ingredients:
1 Tbsp. chili powder
3 cloves garlic, mashed
1/2 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground caraway seed
1/2 tsp. cumin
2 slices bread
approximately 2 oz. grated Parmesan
Chop eggplant into rough 1" cubes, place in a colander and sprinkle on all sides with salt. Let sit for 1/2 hour so some of the liquid "sweats" out of the eggplant. Heat a pot of water until boiling then add the tomatoes (you can slit the skin of the tomatoes to help peel them). When the skin of the tomatoes begin to peel off, remove them to a bowl to cool, then peel and mash them. Heat the oil in a wide skillet or saucepan and cook the onions and garlic in it over medium heat until the onion is translucent. Pat the eggplant dry with paper towels and stir the eggplant into the skillet. Cook for another 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the peeled tomatoes, zucchini, bell pepper, herbs and splash of wine. Adjust the heat to simmer for 30-40 minutes. Stir the ratatouille occasionally and cook until the vegetables are soft but not mushy. Remove the bay leaf and adjust seasoning to taste (you will probably not need to add additional salt as the eggplant will retain some salt).
In a bowl, mix the harissa ingredients well and set aside. Sprinkle the grated Parmesan on the bread and toast them until golden brown. Cut into triangles for a nice presentation and use a squeeze bottle to apply lines of harissa to your plating of the ratatouille. Enjoy with the luscious 2006 Matthews Syrah given a 92 Point rating by Wine Spectator. Serves 2.
WEEK #4 CULINARY SCHOOL ADVENTURES: This week's country was Italy--land of fabulous food and wine. Just the thought of it brings back sensuous gustatory memories--the fecund, earthy aroma of the Tuscan land that is captured in each ruby glass of noble Brunello, the plates of fresh fish and risotto at Il Porticciolo with the waters of Lago Maggiore spangled with lights in the evening, and the magical summer festa in my Italian friend Luciana's garden with a feast of fresh produce and fish--which precipitated the birth of this blog. (see July 3, 2008 post for recipes) Even the snobbish French conceded in Larousse Gastronomique (the seminal encyclopedia of cuisine) that Italian food is the most imaginative in Europe and, in fact, the mother of European cuisine. We learned this from our textbook, along with the history of Catherine de Medici. She was married to Henry II of France in 1533 and brought her chefs with her, along with new foods such as broccoli, peas, artichokes, and the tradition of fine pastries and sauces. She also brought the Italian love of opulent table settings with embroidered linens, perfumes, sugar sculptures and luxurious silverware and glasses.

The teams' task was to prepare handmade Ravioli di Melanzane E Pomodori (Eggplant and Sundried Tomato Ravioli), Pizza, and Pollo Alla Cacciatora (Chicken Caccitore). Our team also made almond butter cookies. I frenched the chicken (see here for YouTube video) and gave it a splash of brandy.
Once again, there was amazing creativity--one team deep fried their ravioli and topped it with sugar, lemon zest and caramel sauce. Another made chicken scallopini as an extra dish--it was my favorite. Nestled on a bed of tender, hand-cut noodles, the chicken was crispy and topped with a line of sundried tomatoes and capers.

0 Comments--Click HERE To Add Or Read:

Post a Comment

Thank you for your feedback...