Ratatouille in tomato crepes
Serves 4 (2 crepes each)
Heres a new way to eat ratatouille: rolled in crepes flavored (and tinted) with tomato, amplifying summer's flavors.
Make ahead: The crepe batter needs to rest for 30 minutes. The crepes can be refrigerated for up to 1 week or made up to a month in advance and frozen with pieces of parchment paper or plastic wrap between them. The ratatouille can be refrigerated for up to 1 week, then reheated and rolled inside the crepes immediately before serving.
Recipe adapted by The Washington Post from Vegetables Please, by Carolyn Humphries (DK, $17.50, 352 pages).
For the crepes:
3/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 large egg
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/4 cups low-fat milk
For the filling:
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for frying
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded and cut into thin strips
1 small eggplant, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 medium zucchini, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
Kosher or sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for garnish
For the crepes: Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Add the egg and tomato paste, then gradually whisk in the milk until smooth. The batter should rest for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the filling: Pour the 2 tablespoons of oil into a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion, garlic, bell pepper, eggplant and zucchini. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables begin to soften, 5 to 10 minutes, then add the tomatoes, tomato paste, water and sugar, if desired. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Reduce the heat to medium; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is stewlike and thickened, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the 2 tablespoons of basil. Cover to keep warm.
To make the crepes, brush a nonstick crepe or omelet pan with a little oil. Add a scant 1/4 cup of the crepe batter to the pan and swirl around to cover evenly. Cook for just a minute or two, until the bottom is golden and the top is set, then use a spatula to flip the crepe over and briefly cook the second side. Slide onto a plate; cover loosely with aluminum foil to keep it warm while you cook the remaining crepes, reheating and oiling the pan between each one.
Gently reheat the filling over medium heat if needed. Divide the filling among the crepes, rolling each one and placing them on plates with the seam sides down. Spoon any remaining ratatouille on top of the rolled crepes.
Roll and cut the remaining basil leaves crosswise into thin ribbons. Sprinkle the crepes with the cheese and ribbons of basil. Serve warm.
Grilled eggplant with anchovies, garlic and rosemary
Prep time: 38 minutes
Cook time: 7 minutes
Note: Look for salted anchovies at Italian groceries or delis or the deli or cheese department of a gourmet grocery. They are most often sold in large cans, 1 1/2 pounds or more.
3 salted anchovies (6 fillets)
6 cloves garlic
1 cup olive oil, plus more if necessary
2 large (1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pounds) round eggplants,
2 long branches fresh rosemary
Rinse the anchovies under running water to remove excess salt; soak in water to cover in a small bowl until softened, about 5 minutes. Remove the fillets, discard the skeletons and soak another 5 minutes until flexible. Cut into approximately half-inch crosswise pieces.
Slice the garlic crosswise as thin as you can. Reserve the tops, bottoms and odd-shaped pieces in a bowl; cover with olive oil. Cut the eggplants into 1-inch-thick crosswise slices.
Working with one slice at a time, cut 5 shallow slits into the eggplant four at the compass points and one in the center; they should be about one-half-inch deep and should not go all the way through.
Insert a garlic slice in each of the slits (if necessary, widen the slit by wiggling a paring knife in it). Insert a piece of anchovy in each slit. Finally, insert a tuft of rosemary in each slit. The fillings should be as close to flush with the surface as you can make them. Repeat with the remaining eggplant slices. Sprinkle both sides of each eggplant slice with salt; brush generously with the garlic olive oil.
Grill over a moderate fire until browned on one side, 4-5 minutes. Brush with more olive oil; turn to the other side. Brush that with oil as well. Continue cooking and brushing with oil until the eggplant is browned on both sides and tender, 3-4 minutes. Remove to a platter, brush with any remaining oil and serve.
Per serving: 283 calories, 28 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 2 mg cholesterol, 10 g carbohydrates, 2 g protein, 59 mg sodium, 4 g fiber.