Saturday, February 20, 2010

Tartines with ratatouille and sardines

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Oh, ratatouille, how I have missed thee.

I love ratatouille because it reminds me of summer, which I am yearning for right now, but it's also a recipe that demands a lot of work. I've been buying the ingredients every week for a month now, and then feeling too overwhelmed to make it. I finally made it on the weekend, the first time in at least a year.

I basically followed my old recipe (Ode to ratatouille), but with some differences. I used my indoor grill to grill the vegetables. I tossed each vegetable in olive oil and a different dried herb — the zucchini with oregano, the peppers with basil, and the onions and eggplant with herbes de Provençe — and grilled them in batches.

The grill marks were lovely and brown and stripey, just like from a real barbecue. S was pretty impressed because he has had no luck yet getting the appliance to make the same fine grill marks on fish.

While veggies grilled, I sauteed some ingredients in a big deep frying pan for the ratatouille base: diced onion, diced sundried tomato, minced garlic, two big tablespoons of tomato paste and lots of olive oil. As the vegetables came off the grill I added them to this pan and mixed everything up as it cooked. An hour and a half later, I had a lovely ratatouille. It gets better the day after you cook it, and better still the day after that!

My favourite way with ratatouille these days is to have it on tartines, a French dish that is basically little baguette toasts topped with a spread. I first heard of tartines after watching Laura Calder make them on the "Cooking for One" episode of French Food at Home on Food Network Canada. She made three different tartines, one with olive tapenade and tomatoes, another with a fava bean spread and a third with a mushroom saute. I've been making two lately, one with ratatouille and the other with bristling sardines.

Does anyone else have a favourite way of making tartines? I would love to collect some more ideas!


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