I hold my hands up with this one. This recipe is not for the ratatouille purist but it is a deliciously brilliant side dish that is well worth deviating from the original and classic recipe. It works well with grilled meats but I adore it with a fillet of succulent white fish with crispy skin. Perfect summer dining fodder. Don’t forget that accompanying glass of rosé either!
2 small red onions
2 red Ramiro peppers
2 courgettes, cut on the diagonal
½ bulb of fennel, cut into chunks
half a punnet of cherry or tiny plum tomatoes, whole
3 cloves of garlic
Good handful of marjoram (oregano, summer savoury or even flat leaf parsley would do here instead)
½ cup of white wine
¼ cup of water
1tsp lemon zest
salt and pepper
How to prepare
Roughly chop red onions and garlic, adding to a frying pan (one that can be placed in the oven) with a little olive oil and the anchovies. Leave these to fry gently whilst you roughly chop the peppers, courgettes fennel and prick the tomatoes with the end of a knife.
When the onion has begun to soften, add the rest of the vegetables except the tomatoes. Add the lemon zest to the pan and gently push a fork through the vegetables so that they combine. Fry off for 5 mins before adding the wine – allow this to bubble away a little before pouring in the water and roughly chopped herbs to the pan. Stir through, then pop the tomatoes in remembering to leave them whole but simply pricked once with a knife. This allows the juice to escape a bit into the sauce.
Season with salt and pepper, add a dash of olive oil and then place in the oven at 180 degrees C, 350F, Gas mark 4 for 40 minutes. Keep regularly checking to make sure that the pan has some liquid in the bottom and doesn’t go dry.