Tuesday, August 3, 2010

CSA Dinner: Ratatouille Over Polenta Cakes

My quest to try new recipes with our CSA veggies continues...

Tonight's dinner? Ratatouille Over Polenta Cakes. Ratatouille had to have been created by the rural cook who was inundated with vegetable in the summertime. It has a flavor more specific than the "open access" vegetable soup where the ingredients can change, but it uses so many different veggies that it still clears out the fridge just as well.

I found a recipe online that require endless chopping and two pots and bowls, one set for frying the veg and another for sauteing them together. That was not going to work for me. I can change any recipe to get it down to a one pot meal. Here is what I did:

Ratatouille Over Polenta Cakes
First I made the polenta, 1 1/2 cups of polenta gently boiled with 3 cups of water, a 1/2 cup of cream and a couple of good pinches of salt on the stove top. When the polenta was thick but not quite cooked (it took about 20 minutes total after it came to a boil), I added a quarter cup of grated Parmesan cheese. When the mix was completely cooked I poured it into a baking dish and evened it out like you would cake batter and let it set.
For the Ratatouille, in a dutch oven saute one diced onion, two cloves of minced garlic, 2 medium diced zucchinis and 3 diced baby purple eggplants with the skins on in about a quarter cup of olive oil (it was about equal parts zucchini and eggplant in case you are wondering). I added a good pinch of salt and pepper here. Saute for about 10 minutes or until things start to get soft. Then add one bay leaf and some minced parsley. Also add two medium diced tomatoes with the skins removed. I bet a 32 ounce can of peeled tomatoes would do the job too. Continue to cook with the tomato for another 15-20 minutes with the pot's lid on. It is ready when the eggplant starts to break down and the mix begins to come together as one instead of alot of separate parts.
To make the cakes, cut the set polenta into squares and reheat in the oven. I tried to fry them in olive oil but it was a comical mix of mushy oil soaked polenta and a pan that will be sitting in the sink for 2 days. So, don't try that at your house. Spoon the ratatouille over the cakes and garnish with more Parmesan cheese.

Whoa, keeper. It might look at little like gray mush, but don't judge a book by it's cover.

This is a nice one too because it is vegetarian and easily made vegan by omitting the cream and cheese. I did have to buy the eggplants and the garlic at the farmer's market so I suppose it was not a TOTAL CSA dinner, but, hey who's counting! Enjoy!


  1. Thanks for being a pioneer, COB. I was going to make this as a one-pot dish after I pick up an eggplant at the farmers' market later this week. Now I have two ratatouille recipes, and I know everything will taste just fine without cooking the zucchini and eggplant twice. :)

  2. I bet you saw the recipe from Diary of a Locavore-I got that website from yours Katie! Her recipe is very good too, but I hate peppers (what kind of a self respecting foodie am I??) so I eliminated them. Try it--you really will like this one.