Tag Archives: fresh

Fresh ratatouille-inspired “verrines”

Once again, our trip to the produce market was a very inspiring one. Colorful displays, friendly staff sampling fruit, the sight and scent of fresh flowers, what a wonderful place to feel energized and inspired. As we stopped by one of the vegetable stands, we could not help but notice the large variety of eggplants available to us. They are very different from on another in size, color and shape.

Almost every single variety ended in our cart so that Loulou and I would be able to decide which would be most suitable for our dish. Chinese and Japanese eggplants have thinner skins and more delicate flavors. The Globe and Italian eggplants vary in sizes but are fairly similar in taste – firmer skin and flesh. Finally the Rosa Bianca, also know as the heirloom italian eggplant, has a creamy flesh and softer skin than the Italian and Globe.

My friend C. recently asked me about a recipes with eggplants. “I like eggplant in meals a lot, but don’t know how to prepare it myself”. Here is a second recipe for her, inspired from the French “ratatouille”.

Classic ratatouille is a warm dish, with eggplants, zucchini, red bell pepper, onion and tomatoes. In most of the classic ratatouille recipes that I know, vegetables are stir fried separately, then combined, and cooked together for about 30 minutes.

In these “verrines”, I decided not to use pepper and to layer the other vegetables in glasses. Another difference with the classic ratatouille is that the tomato and zucchini remain raw so that a spoonful of the “verrine” will mix crunchy and creamy textures.

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Zucchini and Goat cheese Millefeuille

As we can finally feel some warmth, fresh dishes start to become more appealing. My first step was to look inside our refrigerator searching for fruits and vegetables that shout “refreshing“. Fresh herbs, zucchini squash…how about something sweet and zesty to add to that, maybe a tad tangy too…yes, a green apple will do. Don’t forget le fromage (cheese), preferably fresh as well…and I was ready to let my imagination flow.

This is my process most of the time. I think of a mood, I think sensation, and then open my fridge for inspiration. Then I look at Loulou to confirm my intuition – always making sure that I choose something she might like, something healthy too. We are very fortunate to leave next to a great produce market and if the fridge is empty, the produce is at hand just steps away.

For this recipe you will need a few tools like aluminum rings and a mandolin. But once everything is on the table, the next steps go really fast.

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