Recipe by Claire
Claire has previously volunteered with us at FoodCycle Cambridge
The one thing I really enjoyed when volunteering at FoodCycle is making dishes that you can duplicate easily and prepare quickly.
This recipe is all about this, simplicity. It can be done in minutes, prepared ahead of time and kept in the fridge until you are ready to crack your eggs; because like every slow-cooked dish, it is at its best when you reheat it.
I love this recipe for its summery and sunny feeling, and to be honest each time I cook this dish I feel on holiday!
- Vegetable oil
- 1 big or 2 small aubergines (chopped)
- 3 medium or 4 small courgettes (cut in small pieces)
- 1 red and 1 yellow pepper
- 1 onion cut in thin slices
- 1 can chopped tomatoes
- Fresh or dried herbs such as thyme, rosemary, fresh oregano.
- 2 aniseed stars
- 1/4 tsp of coriander
- Salt and pepper
- 2 garlic cloves (crushed)
- Black pitted olives (optional)
- 4 eggs
- A pinch of paprika or cayenne pepper (optional)
Step 1: Grill the peppers
Turn the oven on grill to 200 C
Cut the peppers in two, deseed them and place them on a tray under the grill skin side up. The skin should burn. Once the skin is bubbling and dark, remove the peppers from the oven.
Place them in a plastic box, close the lid and wait for a few minutes. The steam will help soften the skin.
Once you can handle them, peel off the skin which should come out easily and cut them in small slices. Put them aside.
This step can be done ahead. You just need to keep the peeled and sliced peppers in the fridge until you are ready to cook.
You can also skip step 1 if you are in a hurry and just deseed and slice the peppers and start straight with step 2.
Step 2: Cook the veggies!
Heat a good lug of oil in a large pan.
Place the aubergine cut in small pieces and cook them in high heat until they are slightly grilled and then turn the heat down to soften them. Aubergine is a vegetable that absorbs oil so do not be afraid to add more if necessary.
Once the aubergines are softened, add the sliced onion and cook a little longer until it has softened. Add the crushed garlic gloves, courgettes, sliced peppers. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and coriander. Stir the vegetables and cook them for another 5/10 minutes.
Finally add the can of chopped tomatoes, the aniseed star, the herbs and black olives.
Add a bit of water by filling up the empty can 1/3 of the way and pouring it into the pan, then cook on a very low heat until the vegetables are soft and the juice slightly reduced (20/25min on a very low heat). Stir regularly so the vegetables do not burn at the bottom of your pan.
At this point, you can freeze it for another day. However make sure you thaw it and reheat it very slowly before cracking and cook the eggs.
Step 3: Crack the eggs!
Once the ratatouille is ready, shape four holes in it and crack the four eggs. Try to separate them from one another and turn the heat to medium.
The eggs are cooked when the white is not translucent anymore and the yolk looks firm on the edge but not in the middle. It should have the same aspect than if you were cooking a fried egg.
I like my yolk a bit runny in the middle with the whites well cooked but it is up to you how you like it.
Sprinkle some paprika or cayenne pepper on each yolk as a final touch.