Christmas Ratatouille from France and Tinos

This Cycladic take on a French classic combines fruit, vegetables, herbs and nuts for an impressive result.


Chef: Antonia Zarpa

Preparation & Cooking time: 140'

Serves: 8

Ratatouille is a French briam or stewed vegetable dish but Antonia Zarpa from the Thalassaki taverna on the island of Tinos has added a Cycladic island taste to it, using vegetables and seasonal fruit which she “builds” into the pan to resemble what she calls “handmade edible dry stones.”

The result has an impressive appearance and a unique taste. It goes brilliantly with meat, fish and burgers.

INSTRUCTIONS

Clean and cut the vegetables and the fruit into very thin round slices (ideally 3mm thick). To do this, use a sharp knife or, ideally, a utensil called the mandolin (found in kitchen utensil shops). Place the vegetables in one bowl and the fruit in another. Add 150ml of olive oil, salt and pepper to the vegetable bowl. Add 50ml of olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon juice (so as not to darken the fruit) to the fruit bowl.

Pre-heat the oven to 160°C. Oil the pan and carefully lay the fruit and vegetables upright and rigidly across the entire pan – making sure that each fruit is next to a vegetable (see photo). Sprinkle the herbs and the nuts while setting up these edible dominos. Repeat. Make 3–4 strips of vegetables. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and cook for about an hour.

 

Take the cover off and continue to cook for another 20 minutes so that the ingredients get a color and excess liquid evaporates. Some liquid will remain in the pan. Also, certain vegetables (e.g., celeriac, carrots) may take longer to cook but that doesn’t matter. The only thing to look out for is when the potatoes are done.

* Originally published in Gastronomos Magazine, Dec 15 Issue.
INGREDIENTS (for a 32x25cm pan)

  • 6 medium-sized potatoes
  • 1 leek (white part only)
  • 5 medium-sized beets
  • 4 medium-sized dry onions
  • 4 medium-sized carrots
  • 300gr of pumpkin crumb
  • 1 medium celeriac
  • 3 green apples
  • 4 pears
  • 1 orange (test to see if the orange is worth using because if it is too sour or bitter, it may alter the taste of the dish)
  • 4–5 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh finely chopped thyme or 1 tablespoon of dried grated thyme
  • ¼ of a bunch of finely chopped parsley
  • 10 unsalted and raw almonds
  • 4–5 walnuts broken in bits
  • 2 teaspoons of lemon juice
  • 200ml of olive oil + for the pan
  • Salt, freshly ground pepper

 



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