Ratatouille. This is something I’ve avoided all my life due to the dreaded ingredient – eggplant! I never ate that veggie in my youth. Larry’s mom cooked hers to smithereens, so it is yuck to him, too. We never order anything eggplant in restaurants. Only thing aubergine in our lives is Larry’s extensive wardrobe of USC shirts, jackets, sweats. Yet, here is Ratatouille topped with Roasted Sea Bass on my blog. How’d that happen? Cooking class!
Chef’s Inc. on Pico, with Chef Diane Brown; menu theme was Date Night Romantic Mediterranean. So between grilled flatbread, wine, Santori Salad, wine, Herbed Orzo, wine, and Citrusy Olive Oil Cake with Limoncello Drizzle… a little ratatouille slipped in.
What is it about that vegetable?? Maybe the fact that I wore that color during my formative years at St. Philomena. Then again, eggplant is kinda squishy, like the texture of a live stingray – and I like those animals a lot. To cook eggplant, I am not motivated… not much flavor, but I know it behaves somewhat like mushrooms, absorbing other tastes.
Chef Diane had Larry busy chopping other stuff to avoid dealing with the fact that eggplant was on the horizon. Thankfully, the sea bass was so gorgeous, that once roasted, it didn’t matter that it was dished up on a giant bed of — aaaaaaa ratatouille!!!!!
OK, sorry for the melodrama. It was scrumptious and if you were ever to keep a ratatouille recipe, this is the one. I ate every morsel. This recipe was simple, elegant, quite satisfying. DEFINITELY dinner party potential – it serves eight and is absolutely beautiful.
Roasted Sea Bass with Ratatouille
Recipe by Chef Diane Brown of Chef’s Inc.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 green or red bell pepper, cut into 1/2 inch dice
- 1 small eggplant (about 1/2 pound), cut into 1/2 inch dice
- 1 zucchini (about 1/2 pound), cut into 1/2 inch dice
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
- 1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes with juices
- 2 teaspoons wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons thin-sliced basil leaves
- 8 4-ounce sea bass filets
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
TO MAKE THE RATATOUILLE: In a large sauté pan, heat the oil over moderate heat. Add the onion and bell pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the eggplant, zucchini, garlic, salt and black pepper. Reduce the heat to moderately low and cook, covered, for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the tomatoes and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are heated through, about 5 minutes. Stir in the vinegar and basil.
TO PREPARE THE FISH: Heat oven to 375 degrees. Place sea bass filets on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and season with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in the oven until cooked through, flesh is opaque and firm to the touch, about 15 minutes. Serve atop ratatouille. Makes 8 servings.