"Farewell, dearest summer!" cried Jorth, as she simultaneously clutched the last of summer's produce to her chest and also tried to batten down the hatches for the coming wintry storm. "I shall miss your fresh tomatoes, your basil picked at whim, your ripe glossy eggplants and your never-ending supply of cheap as chips zucchini."
"But...", she continued, as she dumped the vegetables onto her cutting board and began to rummage in her cupboard for her favourite saucepan, "all good things must come to an end. We'll celebrate together tonight with a fine garlicky ratatouille stew, mopping up every last delicious drop with fresh crusty bread and maybe a little zinfandel to really make an evening of it."
"Let's just not get drunk and end the evening slumped on the table bawling out "We'll Meet Again" like we did last year", suggested Galumph.
"Oh yeah!", said Jorth, blushing as red as the last of the summer's tomatoes. "I'd conveniently forgotten all about that!"***
Ratatouille Stew with Poached Egg
2 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, cut into wedges
1 eggplant, cut into fat dice
1 red capsicum, cut into chunks
1 zucchini, diced thickly
3 cloves of garlic, minced
800g can crushed tomatoes
1 egg per person
2 tsp white vinegar
fresh basil leaves and cracked pepper to serve
1 - Place the eggplant pieces into a colander, and sprinkle liberally with salt. Leave for half an hour so the salt can draw any bitterness out, then wipe the salt off.
2 - Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan and add the red onion. Cook for a minute or until starting to soften, then add the other vegetables. Saute gently for 5 - 7 minutes, until all the vegetables are beginning to soften, then add the tomatoes, garlic and 1/2 cup of water.
3 - Bring to the boil, then simmer for 20 minutes, or until the stew has thickened and all vegetables are beautifully soft. Stir in 10 torn up basil leaves, then take off the heat. Plate up when your egg is almost ready.
4 - Do eggs one at a time. Bring a half-filled saucepan of water plus the vinegar to the boil, then turn the heat down so that it is just simmering. Crack your egg into a shallow small bowl, then use a wooden spoon to swirl the water in the saucepan so that a vortex is created. Quickly slide your egg into the vortex, and cook for 3 minutes for a soft yolk or 4 minutes for a firmer yolk.
5 - Using a slotted spoon, carefully remove your egg from the saucepan, making sure all water is drained off. Carefully place on top of the ratatouille, and top with cracked pepper and fresh basil. Cook the other eggs in the same manner.
***Didn't actually happen. But you just never know what the last of the season's basil can do to a girl...
>> Friday, May 25, 2012 – Food glorious food