More on Zucchini: Ratatouille with Fish

Ratatouille with Striped Bass

Ratatouille with Striped Bass

Make ratatouille into a full meal by adding a fillet of firm fleshed fish.  Ratatouille is a Mediterranean summer stew, originating in Nice.  It has one great big plus in that it uses up zucchini.  Other ingredients include onions, eggplant, garlic, and tomatoes plus plentiful fresh herbs (thyme, parsley, basil, lavender or dried Herbes de Provence), salt and pepper.  It can be bland and overly soupy, but I boost the flavor by caramelizing the onions and roasting the zucchini and eggplant pieces in a 500º oven for 10 or 15 minutes before adding them to the rest of the ingredients.  This removes excess moisture, concentrates the flavor and reduces the olive oil required for the recipe.  I won’t write out the full recipe as I plan to put it in my book but you essentially caramelize the onions in olive oil first, add the garlic and herbs, salt and pepper.  Then add the roasted zucchini and eggplant.  Slip the skins from the freshest, most luscious tomatoes you have, chop them and stir them all together with the vegetable mixture.  Let this cook for a few minutes until the flavors meld and the tomatoes break down some, maybe 10 minutes.  Season a portion of firm fleshed white fish (like striped bass, haddock or halibut) and place on top of the boiling stew, cover the pot and serve when  the fish flakes.  The juices from the steamed fish infuse the ratatouille, enriching the flavor.  Garnish with fresh basil.  Optional, run the fish under the broiler for a minute to seal the top before adding it to the stew; use grilled sausage instead of fish, other vegetables can be added such as yellow summer squash and bell peppers.


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