On Tuesday night last week, we made Ellie Krieger’s Ratatouille with Red Snapper and Herbed Goat Cheese Crostini. We’ve made this before, but we introduced two twists this time, one planned and one unplanned. The planned twist was a small one: we substituted beautiful, purple-streaked-with-white “graffiti eggplant”, which no less an authority than my Very Italian Father advised would be less bitter than regular eggplant. (He was, of course, correct.) The unplanned twist revealed itself when we opened the package of “red snapper filets” and found that it contained tuna steaks instead.
Prep for this dish does take a little while, as I had to dice a good-sized eggplant, a medium onion, and two zucchini, not to mention mince some garlic and chop some basil. I had hoped to do the prep for this dish on Sunday, but no such luck. In any case, it wasn’t too difficult. Cooking the ratatouille was much easier than prepping the ingredients. I first cooked the eggplant for about 5 minutes then took it out of the pan. I next cooked the onion for about 5 minutes, then added the zucchini and garlic and cooked those with the onion for about 7 minutes. The final steps were easiest of all, as I returned the eggplant to the pan, added the tomatoes and seasoning, and simmered everything for about 10 minutes. For some reason, I decided not to use our trusty Dutch oven for this dish, but instead used a good-sized skillet. I’m not going to waste much time trying to figure out why I thought this was a good decision, but I won’t repeat it either!
While the ratatouille was simmering, I had time to prep the crostini. I rubbed one side of about a dozen slices of crusty French bread with garlic and then spread each slice with a little herbed goat cheese. I figured the crostini would toast under the broiler right after I had cooked the snapper, which also had to be cooked under the broiler.
I was very confused when I opened the package of fish, but once Kim confirmed that it was indeed tuna and not red snapper, the next steps were actually pretty easy. I heated some olive oil in another skillet and seared the tuna for about 1 1/2 minutes per side, which was just enough time to get the crostini toasted as well.
Despite the unexpected change, dinner was great. I probably could have seared the tuna over higher heat, because while it was perfect on the inside it could have used a bit more char on the outside. The ratatouille and tuna paired together very well, so well in fact that we may use tuna from now on. I picked up a French rose on the way home and, as Michael at Columbus Wine and Spirits (www.columbuswines.com) promised, it proved to be a very well-balanced pairing with the fish and ratatouille.