I struggled to name this dish, because my Spanification of this French classic was a last-minute decision and for purists, it means that this is no longer a ratatouille. It’s one of those dishes that changes every time I make it, depending on the ingredients I have on hand, and whilst this ratatouille has a few Spanish additions, it still retains its very southern French flavours. I used white fish (basa fillets to be exact), but you could add this ratatouille to just about anything. Salmon, beef fillet, polenta or chicken, for example, would all work as a base. It’s so yummy though, that you could just eat it on its own with some crusty bread! This is by all means a simple, rustic dish, but spend a little extra time preparing the capsicum and eggplant and you will take what can often be a very standard dish, particularly for those who aren’t veggie fans, to soaring vegetable heights.
4 large pieces of boneless, white fish
extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
2 cloves crushed garlic
1-2 chorizo sausages, roughly chopped
1 large zucchini, roughly chopped
1 medium eggplant, roughly chopped
1 large red capsicum
100 ml red wine
400 g can diced Italian tomatoes
handful pitted black olives
pinch dried chilli flakes
sea salt and black pepper
Place the capsicum in a baking tray and drizzle with oil, then bake in a hot oven for about 30-40 minutes or until blackened. Remove and allow to cool. Chop the eggplant and place it into a bowl. Sprinkle with about 2 teaspoons of cooking salt, mix it through and then cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Set it aside for about 30 minutes. This process will draw out the bitterness from the eggplant.
Pour 2 tablespoons of oil into a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for a couple of minutes. Add the chorizo and fry until sealed, then add the zucchini. While these ingredients are frying, rinse the eggplant well and pat dry, then add this to the saucepan. Stir the mixture until the eggplant and zucchini have gained some colour. Remove the skin from the cooled capsicum (this should fall off quite easily), roughly cut it into strips and then add these and the capsicum juices from the tray to the saucepan. Combine well and then add the wine. Allow the wine to absorb for half a minute then add the tomatoes, olives and chilli flakes and season to taste. Let the mixture bubble away gently for about 10 minutes. The flavour will intensify the longer you leave it, however the sweet capsicum and spicy chorizo will create a bold flavour without too much cooking time. Check for seasoning, add plenty of freshly torn basil (or chopped parsley if you wish) and once you are happy with the taste, remove the mixture from the pan and set it aside.
Keep the pan on the heat. Don’t worry if there is a little residue left from the ratatouille, this only adds to the flavour of the fish. Drizzle the pan with another tablespoon of oil and quickly season both sides of the fish on a chopping board. Add these to the pan and fry for about 3 minutes on each side, depending on the size of your fish.
Serve your fish with a generous amount of ratatouille and a drizzle of olive oil on top. Bon appétit a todos!