Ratatouille with anchovy crumble topping

Ratatouille was a staple dish of mine when I was a student. When I think back to how I made it all those years ago it was very rustic (aka messy), but what more did you need when you were an impoverished hungry student? It was always a case of throwing things in the pan and cooking them till they resembled mush (I wasn’t really into finesse and al dente was not a concept I was familiar with). This was before I really started to get into cooking and started to care about how I cooked things.


These days when I make it I tend to take the layered approach and cooking the ingredients step by step as I find it makes for a better flavour.
The anchovy crumble came about as a result of a throwaway comment from my other half but the saltiness of the anchovies complement the rich tomato sauce and the breadcrumbs add another dimension with their crispness.

1 courgette diced into 1/2 inch cubes
1 red pepper charred on the outside (you can do this under the grill or with a chefs blow torch, once charred place it in a plastic ziplock bag to cool, it makes it easier to remove the skin), skin and seeds removed and diced into 1/2 inch cubes
1 aubergine peeled and diced into 1/2 inch cubes
1 clove garlic finely chopped
1 red onion finely chopped
5 tomatoes skin removed and finely chopped
Bay leaf
Sprig thyme
Sprig rosemary
1 tablespoon tomato purée
50ml passata
50ml red wine
Oil for frying

In a pan sauté the onion on a medium heat until soft
Add the aubergines and fry off for 2-3 minutes
Next add the tomatoes and again stir through for 5 minutes
Pour in the wine and add the purée and passata, stir through and turn the heat up briefly (1-2 mins) to cook out the alcohol from the wine
Add the diced pepper, garlic and herbs and cook for 20 minutes
Add the courgette and cook for a further 5 minutes

For the crumble topping
1 tin anchovies oil drained and finely chopped
100g breadcrumbs or 100g stale bread whizzed in a food processor
70g parmesan grated

Mix all ingredients together or pulse together in the food processor

To finish off the ratatouille
Pre heat a grill to high
Place the ratatouille mix in a baking dish
Sprinkle with the crumble topping
Place under the grill for 5-10 minutes until the topping has crisped.


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