This is a cracking, simple recipe. If you’ve never made
ratatouille, you really need to give it a go, because it covers all the bases –
it’s delicious, and it’s full of vegetables, which also means it’s pretty cheap
to make. The combination of rich, slightly spicy tomatoes, sweet peppers,
buttery courgettes and smoky aubergines is amazingly moreish. It seems that
pretty much everyone has a different recipe for it, so once you’ve had a go,
feel free to tweak it until it’s just right for you.
Two tins of chopped tomatoes
Sweet chilli sauce, to taste
Ground coriander, to taste
Serves 2, with some ratatouille left over for the next
day (it’s great with melted cheese on top).
Start by making your ratatouille. It’s best if you leave
it to simmer for half an hour or so once you’ve put it all together, so allow a
bit of time for this if you can. Dice the onion, celery and garlic finely, and
get them sizzling gently in a splash of olive oil. Add half a teaspoon or so of
ground coriander (of course, if you have some of the fresh stuff lying around,
feel free to use that. I love growing herbs but for some reason my coriander
always dies, so I’ve taken to going the lazy route and using ground stuff,
which still works pretty well for things like this). Chop the red pepper and
add after about five minutes. Leave the mixture frying slowly while you slice
up the aubergine and courgette, but don’t add these straightaway – instead,
brown them lightly in a frying pan with a bit more olive oil. While they’re getting
started, add the chopped tomatoes to the pepper and onion mixture (I’ve put two
tins as a maximum, but you might not need all of it, it really depends on how
you want your ratatouille – personally I like mine with less tomatoes so that
it’s chunky and less like a sauce), then season and add a good dollop of sweet
chilli sauce. Finally, stir in the courgette and aubergine. Let it all simmer
for five minutes or so, and then taste it to check if it needs anything else.
There’s a chance it might be a little bitter at this stage (from the smoky
flavour of the aubergine) so add a pinch of sugar if you think so. Leave your
ratatouille to bubble on a low heat while you prepare the lamb steaks.
Getting the lamb ready is really simple. Sprinkle the
topmost side with ground nutmeg, paprika, salt and pepper, and fresh thyme if
you can get it (or ground thyme if you can’t). Wash your hands well and then
rub the herbs and spices into the meat with your fingers. Flip the steaks over
and repeat on the other side, and then leave the steaks until about five
minutes before you want to eat. In the meantime, get your garlic bread in the
oven if you’re having some.
When you’re ready to do the lamb, put a very small
drizzle of oil in a griddle pan and make sure it’s hot before you pop the lamb
steaks in. Turn them over every sixty seconds or so until they’re cooked to
your liking. Serve with a generous dollop of warm ratatouille, a few slices of
garlic bread and a glass of red wine.