Pic of BBQ blistered ratatouille

BBQ blistered ratatouille

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BBQ

BBQ blistered ratatouille

Serves 6 1h 10 min
Based on a recipe we saw done in a woodfired pizza oven. The veg was burnt and blistered before the blackened skins were removed to reveal tender flesh beneath. Everything is roughly chopped and dressed in a simple tomato sauce. Aggressive in the making, but subtle and smoky on the plate. A good use of a lazy summer's evening.

Ingredients

  • 4 red onions
  • 1 garlic bulb
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 800g ripe tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 small glass of white wine
  • 2 aubergines
  • 3 red peppers
  • 4 courgettes
  • red wine vinegar – to taste
  • 30g basil

Method

Prep time: 10 min
Cooking time: 1h
  • Step 1

    Light your fire and let it burn down to glowing embers. Feed one side with fresh wood or coals and let them catch so that you have two distinct areas to your fire, one hot and the other gentler.
  • Step 2

    Place your onions directly onto the embers to cook. Leave the skins on and turn them at regular intervals, until the outsides are blackened but they feel soft when squeezed with tongs. They can take up to 40 minutes.
  • Step 3

    Cut off the top centimetre of the garlic bulb and sit it on a sheet of foil. Drizzle with oil and season with salt. Gather the foil up to create a parcel and crimp it closed. Tuck it into the embers, next to the onions. It'll take 20-30 minutes to soften.
  • Step 4

    While the onions and garlic cook, quarter the tomatoes and toss in a large, heavy roasting tray with a generous glug of olive oil. Season well and throw in the bay and white wine. Place the tray directly on the grill bars over a steady non-direct heat; above the embers is ideal They'll slowly collapse down into a chunky sauce. This will take about 25 minutes. Add a dash of water if they look like drying out and catching at any point.
  • Step 5

    Rub the aubergines and red peppers lightly with oil and place them directly on the bars of the BBQ, over a medium-high heat. Keep turning every few minutes to get an even cook. In about 20 minutes (depending on size) they will start to soften and blister. They are ready when they feel perfectly soft. Put aside until cool enough to handle.
  • Step 6

    Cut the courgettes in half lengthways. Griddle them over a medium-high heat, flat-side down, for 3-4 minutes, until nicely marked. Flip over and cook for a further 3-4 minutes.
  • Step 7

    When cool enough to handle, peel the burnt onions until you are left with the tender hearts. Roughly chop them and thrown into the tray with the tomatoes.
  • Step 8

    Peel the blackened, papery skins away from the aubergines and peppers and discard. Remove and discard any seeds from the peppers. Roughly chop them on a board and add them to the tray too.
  • Step 9

    Cut the courgettes into a chunky dice and throw them into the tray.
  • Step 10

    When cool enough to handle, squeeze the flesh from the garlic skin like toothpaste - a strangely enjoyable task. You'll end up with a sweet, sticky purée. Fold it into the ratatouille to your taste.
  • Step 11

    Tweak the seasoning with salt, pepper and a dash or two of red wine vinegar, to taste. Tear in the basil just before serving.

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