And now, imagine if the said ratatouille is accompanied by goats cheese and encased in a delicious buttery and herby crust. What could be more perfect?!
And then, I decided to encase all the ratatouille ingredients into some delicious pastry. And what better way to do that than in a tarte tatin style.
The stewing tomato and pepper sauce created a wonderful fragrance that diffused itself throughout the apartment. I suddenly could not focus on anything else as my French brain connected to my French stomach and decided it might be great to eat all this delicious sauce immediately. But I had to wait! Wait until the sauce would be draped over the tasty goats cheese and the beautiful slices of aubergine and courgette. Wait until the buttery thyme shortcrust would embrace all those delicious ingredients and be baked into a heavenly savoury tarte tartin.
And heavenly it was!
The aubergine and courgette were cooked perfectly. The combination of ingredients turned into a beautiful layer of ratatouille and goats cheese sitting on a thin delicate crust.
It was eaten on its own, a big slice of it to satisfy my Summer cravings!
And because I think it is a perfect Summer dish and I am not so selfish that I would keep it for myself, I am sharing the recipe with you.
Ingredients (serves 4 to 6 people)
4 tbsp olive oil
2 shallots (finely sliced)
1/2 red pepper / capsicum (finely sliced)
1/2 green pepper / capsicum (finely sliced)
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
2 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
1 small bunch fresh thyme
1 dried bay leaf
1 sliced courgette / zucchini (about 180 to 200g, 5mm-thick slices)
1 sliced aubergine / eggplant (about 300 to 350g, 5mm-thick slices)
75g goats cheese
For the thyme shortcrust
200g plain flour (plus extra for dusting)
100g diced cold butter
50g cold water
2 tsp dried thyme
1. Put the flour, dried thyme and diced butter in a large bowl. Mix with your fingers until you get a fine crumb. Make a well in the centre. Pour in the water and knead the ingredients together quickly. Form a ball, wrap it in clingfilm and leave in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
2. Heat up the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the sliced shallots and stir them for 4 to 5 minutes. Add in the sliced peppers and cook for 10 minutes until softened. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and garlic. Season with salt. Put the fresh thyme and the bay leaf on top of the sauce. Reduce to the lowest heat, cover and stew for 25 to 30 minutes. Stir every now and then. Season with a pinch of pepper. Discard the bay leaf and thyme sprigs and set aside.
3. Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
Line a large tart tin (30cm diameter) with greaseproof paper. Crumble the goat cheese on the bottom of the dish. Arrange the slices of aubergine and courgette on top. Spread the sauce over them.
4. Dust a large flat surface with some flour. Roll out the thyme shortcrust dough (about 3mm thick) and place it on top of the ratatouille vegetables and sauce. Delicately tuck the pastry into the edges.
Put the dish on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 25 minutes (the crust should be golden and some of the sauce bubbling on the edges).
Let the dish rest for 5 minutes. Put a large plate or board (larger than the tart tin) on the top and invert the ratatouille tarte tatin on it quickly and delicately. Remove the greaseproof paper and cut your slices.
It is perfect for a light dinner or even served cold as a starter with a side salad.