And I’m not talking about the mouse from that lovable Disney movie. Last week, David visited NYC and we had a really fun time exploring new foods and eateries. On his first night in the city, we dined at the new Boulud Sud (review to come), where I fell in love with a reinterpretation of an otherwise hackneyed dish – ratatouille et oeuf moullet. I’ve had a number of variations of ratatouille, but they have always been such a soggy mess that I never thought I liked it. Until now. Sud presents the ratatouille enrobed in a silky tomato dressing, with all the vegetables in tact and full display. There is a nice play on texture and flavors, as the bread crumbs add both crunch and saltiness to the sweet vegetables. The delicate sunny side up quail egg enhances the strong visual presentation, but also lends a bit of richness to the dish. Today, I tried to recreate Sud’s ratatouille et oeuf moullet. Hope you enjoy.
Ratatouille awaiting the finishing touches
Ratatouille et Oeuf Moullet
Surprisingly, the tomatoes sold at the markets here have been really delicious – perfectly ripened and actually sweet. I think ratatouille is the perfect dish to showcase these tomatoes. The veggies listed below are just what I had on hand, but feel free to also add squash or zucchini. David’s mom also makes ratatouille and sometimes also adds cucumbers and carrots. Really, use what you like! Another interesting note about how David’s mom makes it – she uses bacon fat to sautee her veggies, which makes the dish super rich and fatty, and something you should def try out. Here I use olive oil, and don’t miss the added salt and fat from the bacon. Ratatouille makes a great side dish or appetizer and is definitely meant to be shared. So make a little more than you can eat, and invite over a friend 🙂 Best of all, ratatouille can be served hot off the stove, or at room temp – making it a perfect no-fuss dish for a large crowd.
Ratatouille et oeuf moullet for one please
1/2 bulb of garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 c tomato sauce
2-3 Italian eggplants, sliced at a diagonal, 1/4″ thick
1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced [for color contrast & crunch]
3 medium tomatoes, diced
1 small onion, thinly sliced into half-circles
1 tbs dried oregano
handful of fresh basil, shredded
salt and pepper to taste
For the croutons:
2-3 slices Italian bread, cubed
2 tsp dried oregano
dash of garlic powder
dash of salt
For the egg:
1 egg (per person)
salt and pepper to taste
In a small sauce pan, heat 1-2 tsp of olive oil on medium-high heat. To it, add 2 tsp of minced garlic and allow to brown (but not burn) until fragrant. Add the 1/2 cup of tomato sauce and bring to a bubble. Season with salt, pepper and a teeny sprinkle of sugar, as needed to balance the tartness of the tomato sauce. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a large skillet or frying pan, heat 3-4 tsp of olive oil on medium-high heat. To it, spread out the sliced eggplant and add the tomato-garlic sauce from above. Sautee the eggplant until very soft, and most of the liquid in the pan has evaporated. Season with additional salt as needed. Place cooked eggplant into a large mixing bowl and set aside.
In the same skillet, add a teaspoon more or so of olive oil, and sautee the bell peppers until cooked through, but still retains a crunch. Remove bell peppers into the same mixing bowl as the eggplant.
Continuing at medium heat, add to the same skillet, another 1-2 tsp of olive oil, along with the sliced onions. Sautee for a few minutes until soft, then add the cubed tomatoes. On medium heat, stir the contents and allow the onions and tomatoes to caramelize until soft and sweet. Return to the skillet the bell pepper and eggplant, and stir the veggies in the pan until heated through, and re-season as needed. Remove from heat and set aside.
Meanwhile, into another mixing bowl, add another 2 tsp of garlic, 1-2 tbs of olive oil, oregano, a dash of garlic powder and salt. Toss in the cubed bread and mix until the bread is evenly coated. Place bread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast at 400*F until the bread is brown and crisp (not burnt). Rotate the pan as needed for even baking. This is best done in a small toaster oven.
For the sunnyside up egg, simply heat in a small frying pan 1-2 tsp of olive oil on high heat. Once hot (should sizzle if you sprinkle a tiny drop of water into the pan), crack an egg – keeping yolk in tact – into the pan and turn the heat to medium-low. Cover the pan with a lid (creates a heated incubator to cook the yolk of the egg a bit), and gently jiggle the pan so the egg does not end up sticking to the pan. Keep on heat until the egg whites have solidified, but the yolk is still somewhat runny.
Ready to serve…
To assemble, spoon the still-warm vegetables into a ramekin or shallow bowl. Top with the croutons and carefully place the fried egg on top. Sprinkle with additional salt and pepper, along with the ribbons of shredded basil. Enjoy.
I killed it…
For this recipe, I used a few slices of Italian bread purchased from Addeo Bakery in the Bronx. Amongst all the bakeries and shops along famous Arthur Ave (the Bronx’s own and IMHO better version of Little Italy), we stopped (ran rather – story later) to Addeo to pick up a few loaves of the round Italian bread. Crusty exterior, and tender interior. Perfectly delicious on its own, with some butter or jam, or dunked in a nice thick stew.
Thanks for stopping by my friend. Be on the look out for new reviews and recipes soon!