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Occasionally necessity really is the mother of invention. A couple of containers of late summer ratatouille still in the fridge wondering if I’d forgotten them. (I hadn’t. That stuff’s pure gold.) Raw shrimp on sale at the store that jumped into my cart. A lonely sauté pan on the stove. An empty tummy.



Ratatouille a la Urban Dictionary

Ratatouille from dictionary.reference.com:

 ra· ta· touille
[rat-uh–TOO-ee, –twee; Fr. ra-ta–too-yuh]

 noun: a vegetable stew of Provence, typically consisting of eggplant, zucchini, onions, green peppers, tomatoes, and garlic, served hot or cold.


A big batch of ratatouille that uses up those pesky veggies can be used in a plethora of happy ways: as it is cold or hot for a meal or side; on pasta/rice/quinoa; stored in the freezer for Thanksgiving; as a bed for grilled fish; or how about in a frittata?

Basic frittata directions. Here I’ve added some ratatouille and finished it in the oven.

But I couldn’t help but think I’d only heat that waiting veggie goodness to bubbling and stir in the shrimp until they were just barely done– which happens so very quickly:

Raw shrimp stirred into the hot ratatouille

In about 5 minutes, I had dinner. And you can, too. Set the table and pour the wine before you put skillet to flame so you get a hot meal with tender shrimp.

Try this while you can still grab all the vegetables for the ratatouille, including the super food: bell peppers.

These luscious jewels fight cancer, work toward good vision, provide lots of vitamin A and/or C, and also provide B6, an immune-supporting nutrient. Did I say they’re just beautiful to look at?

but do check out the ideas for “make-the-dish” garnishes below before you begin.

Garnishes? Basil for sure. Optional salty cheese (use your potato peeler) or even a few briny olives or the more traditional capers. Read about Pecorino Romano here.

shrimp ratatouille

If the ratatouille is made ahead, and so it must be, this dish will cook very quickly and, while it will certainly eat at room temperature or even cold out of the fridge, it’s a lovely hot dinner. Have the table set, the wine and water poured, the cheese and peeler at the table (if using), and the music playing before you begin. As it’s a one-dish meal, you need little else except some crusty bread. Some folks might like (cooked ahead) pasta, rice, or quinoa with Shrimp Ratatouille for a larger or more balanced meal. Serves 4 (or more if serving pasta or rice)
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: French
Keyword: Shrimp, Ratatouille
Author: More Time at the Table/Alyce Morgan

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ quarts ratatouille (recipe included in post)
  • 1 pound raw medium shrimp peeled, deveined, and tailed
  • Garnishes: Fresh basil. Optional: peels of Pecorino Romano, sliced kalamata olives, or capers

Instructions

  • In a large deep skillet or sauté pan, warm ratatouille over medium heat, stirring, until the vegetables are at a good simmer. If the stew is thick – and it will be if you’ve made and refrigerated it – pour in 1/4 cup water to thin it a bit and to keep it from sticking. Add raw shrimp and cook until shrimp is just firm and pink—perhaps 3 minutes, stirring regularly to make sure the shrimp is all cooked evenly. (If you use frozen shrimp, it will take an extra minute or so.) Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve hot with fresh basil and cheese, olives or capers, if desired.

Notes

Note: Shrimp is easily overcooked. Begin checking for doneness at 2 minutes, depending on the size and temperature of your shrimp and how fast and hot of a simmer you’ve got going. If you’re unsure about whether or not your shrimp is done, take one out and cut it in half. Look at it and taste it—it should be opaque, not translucent, pinkish, and just barely firm. Please buy American shrimp.
Copyright Alyce Morgan, 2019. 

Alyce’s Ratatouille with Green and Red Bell Peppers

Give yourself 1.5 – 2 hours. While this cooks quickly, the chopping takes time. This recipe originally blogged in 2012; I’ve changed a few things for this version. If you’re in a hurry, you can pan sauté the eggplant at the beginning, remove it to a bowl, follow the rest of the recipe, and add the eggplant back in for the last 15 minutes. Makes 2 ½ – 3 quarts

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil divided
  • 3-4 Japanese eggplant (skinny long oneor 2 medium globe eggplant cut into 1′′ cubes – peel larger eggplants
  • 1 teaspoon salt divided
  • 3 zucchini and 3 yellow squash cut into 1′′ cubes
  • 1 each: red bell pepper and green bell pepper or yellow, cut into strips
  • 2 large onions chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup each: chopped Italian (or curlparsley and chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill or 1 tablespoon dried dill
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano optional
  • 28 ounce can Italian tomatoes drained (reserve juicor 1.5-2# fresh tomatoes, peeled and chopped*
  • 3 ounces tomato paste store extra in a baggie in the freezer for next time
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar or honey
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper optional (or to taste; be careful)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350. Place chopped eggplant on a baking tray, sprinkle lightly with salt and let sit while the oven preheats. When the oven is hot, blot the eggplant lightly on both sides with paper towels and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Cover the tray with foil tightly and bake about 40 minutes or until the eggplant is tender. Remove from oven, remove foil, and set aside.
  • Meantime, in a large, deep skillet (or heavy soup pot), cook in the remaining oil the onions, peppers, and zucchini until they begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, herbs, tomatoes, tomato paste, and sugar. Season with about 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. Stir well, heat through and taste. Add crushed red pepper and taste again. Adjust seasoning if necessary.
  • Let simmer 15 -20 minutes over low heat. Add eggplant and warm through. Add some of the reserved tomato juice if the mixture becomes too thick and is sticking or if you’d like a looser consistency.
  • Serve as is (hot, warm or cold), with Parmesan, over pasta, beneath fish or chicken, or in an omelet. A big bowl of this and a hunk of bread folks can tear and dip into it is perfect August food.
  • Store tightly covered in fridge 2-3 days or freeze for 3-6 months, well-wrapped.

Notes

*To peel fresh tomatoes, cut an X in the bottom and top. Plunge into boiling water for a minute or two. Pull out, let cool briefly ‘til you can handle them without being burned, and peel off skins using a small sharp knife or your fingers. Chop coarsely before adding to ratatouille.
Copyright Alyce Morgan, 2019. All rights reserved

The cook with no time at all might choose to skip making the homemade ratatouille and instead sauté 2-3 chopped zucchini or yellow squash, 2 large peppers, and 2 large onions, add a quart of top-quality tomato sauce (*Rao’s is my choice), heat to bubbling, add shrimp, cook until just done–and call it good. Will it be Ratatouille Shrimp? Nope, but it’ll eat.

SLOW COOKER RATATOUILLE (Williams-Sonoma)

Louisiana Seafood Shrimp Recipes (Buy American Shrimp, please!)

WINE: I’d go with an inexpensive French or even a Paso Robles Red Rhone– style wine, but there’s little doubt a lighter-side Italian red would drink. Things that grow together go together. We’re pairing the prep, not the protein here.

NEED DESSERT? Buy some lemon sorbet.


IF YOU LIKED THIS, YOU MIGHT LIKE TO TRY:

ONE-POT SHRIMP and ASPARAGUS RICE


This week around my house + things to read:

Sunrise is getting later and it’s cool in the morning–thanks, God.
Flowers and Swallowtail at church. Many butterflies and songbirds are gone ’til next year.
Blurry full moon off my deck.
My dear friend, cooking student, and blog follower, Judy, has a new cute rescue puppy I met last week: HERE’S ZEUS! Sweet, smart, and willing. What a prize.
I fenced Rosie out of the sunroom so she wouldn’t jump at the windows, barking like an idiot nearly whenever anyone/dog went by and driving me nuts. So much for that. She took my chair, too. Labradoodles. Of course Tucker did exactly as I asked. Golden Retrievers.

Need a good read? Pick up SOMETHING IN THE WATER, a first novel by Catherine Steadman–quite a thriller I’ve opted to read only in daylight hours. This is September’s read for one of my book clubs. Don’t have a book club? Try NOW READ THIS–PBS NewsHour/NYT Book Club--all online. Fun!

I’m also perusing THE 100 MOST JEWISH FOODS with 60 Recipes for Everything from Kugel to Kubbeh by Alana Newhouse. This comes from only trying to keep up with the Saveur Cook Book Club–another captivating online activity. I have good luck with the library when I don’t want to buy a book. My shelves are getting pretty full.

Want to cook more super or power foods? Try POWER FOODS: 150 RECIPES WITH THE 38 HEALTHIEST INGREDIENTS by the Editors of Whole Living Magazine. It’s been around since 2010, but is an excellent resource that includes essays about each of the 38 foods as well as a great group of recipes. You can do a search on the blog for power foods and see a few of the meals I’ve made featuring some of those ingredients. Or read this article: 16 Superfoods That Are Worthy of the Title from Healthline dot com.



Thanks for cooking with me. Enjoy the cool nights and still warm days.

Light the candles; cook for someone soon. Breathe together and be fed.

Alyce