[Smashy the Hammer] [An Aspiring Luddite]
I carry no phone
An aspiring Luddite
In a wired world.
[Jeff Berry]
Jeff Berry is an early adopter of the Internet and the Web, a late adopter of Twitter, and declines to adopt Facebook. With the death of Google+, he's experimenting with federated platforms. He admins a medievalist Mastodon instance, and can found on the PlusPora diaspora pod. He hates cell-phones.

Lazy Man's Ratatouille
7 July 2011

This week, I'm going to present less of a recipe, and more of a method. Something less prescriptive and more descriptive. Something to do in the glorious days of summer, when the CSA provides a bounty of vegetables and your job is to figure out a creative way to use them that takes maximum advantage of their character and flavor.

Or, some days, that simply has a high enough Effort-to-Deliciousness ratio.

When I'm looking for a nice high E/D, I often fall back to this method. It's not, perhaps, a classic ratatouille, since the ingredients are ad-hoc, and the cooking method doesn't involve any sautéing of any kind, but the result is a simple dish, which highlights the nature of the ingredients.

[The finished dish]
Lazy Man's Ratatouille

For ingredients, use whatever variety of vegetables you have handy. This week, I used:

[Some steps] In the past, I've used yellow onions, other greens, other beans or peas and so on. I wouldn't use root vegetables, though, or anything too starchy, so skip the carrots, radishes, potatoes and the like. (Save those for gratins.)

I'm a fan of the layering method. So coin the squash, zukes and similar veggies, including the yellow onions if that's what you're working with. Cut the rest into more or less bite-sized pieces, and prepare to assemble. Actual assembly order is a question of personal idiosyncratic taste, but I tend to put herbs, onions and tomatoes towards the top, on the theory, that they contain flavors I want to work down through the rest of the ingredients. Greens tend to go in the middle, since they'll cook down a lot and I don't want that on the bottom. In fact, the list of ingredients above is in order, from bottom to top. (Zuke and squash on the bottom, tomatoes on top.)

In between each layer, or as needed, sprinkle just a bit of salt. A grind or two of pepper would not be amiss, but sometimes I just do that at the end on the same trickle-down theory. Cover the baking dish, pop into a 350F oven and go do something else for 45 minutes or an hour.

[More steps] To serve, scoop out into a bowl, not worrying overmuch about maintaining layer integrity. I like to put a drizzle of olive oil on, and a bit of sea salt. Delicious - and it tastes like summer.

© 2011 Jeff Berry
The Aspiring Luddite