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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Rat Tat Toodley!

The title of this post comes from a few old Three Stooges shorts where they chanted "rat-tat-toodley, day-day"!  I don't recall why, just the chant.  Here is a link to one - the chant comes in about 5:59.

I was preparing my favorite zucchini the other day and was prompted to blog about it.  As I was preparing it was I thinking of ratatouille, that classic dish of eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini, onions and what have you that is so romantic and so . . . unpalatable.  I don't know why - I love the idea of ratatouille, I just don't like actually eating it.  It's not the eggplant - I love Moroccan Eggplant salad.  It's not the tomatoes, love those.  Onions?  They appear in practically every dish I make.  Zucchini?  Nope!  Like it cooked or raw.  It's just that combination of vegetables and the preparation of that particular dish that puts me off.

But I do love zucchini cooked this way.  The first time I had it we were on a weekend trip through Canada.  I say it was Goderich, the Man maintains it was Kitchener/Waterloo.  No matter.  We had dinner in a hotel restaurant and roast lamb with mint sauce was on the menu, accompanied by "Yorkshire Pudding" (read popover) and veg.  The veg was zucchini prepared with tomato, garlic and olive oil.  I pondered as I enjoyed my zucchini and decided I could make this at home.  Come on, it's easy.  You'll see.

Scrub and trim enough zucchini (one small one per person is about right) and tomatoes (either a small to medium tomato or several cherry or grape tomatoes per serving).  Slice the zucchini in half lengthwise, then into slices about one half inch thick on the diagonal.  They should be chunky.  Cut the tomato into chunks or cut cherry tomatoes in half.  Smash a clove or so of garlic.

Now add a glug of nice olive oil to a skillet big enough to hold all the vegetables in a single layer - you want them to sear,  not steam.  Heat the oil and toss in the garlic along with a hefty pinch of crushed red chili pepper flakes.  Add the zucchini and tomatoes and a fat pinch of salt and a generous grinding of black pepper and go to town.  Cook, stirring occasionally, over medium - high heat until sizzling and zucchini is tantalizingly brown.  The tomatoes will soften and exude their juices.  As it cooks away everything will be gilded with tomato-ey goodness.

Taste and adjust seasonings.  Serve with, oh, say, lamb chops or roast lamb (or chicken, beef, pork or whatever else you are having that day).  Think of ratatouille, and of how much better this is!

Quotable quotes; in the category Try Everything But Eat Only What You Like!

"What? No! You're in Paris now, baby! My town! No brother of mine eats rejecta-menta in my town!"

Remy, to Emile, when he discovers Emile eating some sort of wrapper - from the 2007 film Ratatouille

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