Ratatouille with Poached Egg

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There are some dishes that are naturally low carb and require no modification or healthification. Ratatouille is one of them. Just like every Indian has their own version of masala or curry, but they have as their basis a definite set of ingredients, ratatouille is prepared with various methods, based on the region of France. You may recall the movie ‘Ratatouille’ featuring this very dish. Although the preparations may vary, the list of ingredients are almost always the same. Eggplant, Zucchini, Peppers, Onions and Tomatoes are the most common. I have used a very simple way of making this dish, which is to saute all the ingredients and to add more protein to the dish, I have topped it with a poached egg. This is completely optional, but makes it all the more delicious.

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Ingredients:
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp red pepper flakes(optional)
1 bay leaf
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 large American eggplant, cubed
3 tomatoes, diced
1 large red pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 zucchini, chopped
1 tbsp tomato paste(optional)
1 tbsp water
1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp oregano
salt to taste

For poaching eggs:
1 tbsp white vinegar
2 eggs(or as needed)
salt and pepper to taste

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Method:
Heat 2 tsp oil in a pan, add the cubed eggplant and saute until soft and golden brown. Remove and set aside. Add another tsp of oil to the pan and add the zucchini. Saute again until barely cooked and golden. Set aside alng with the eggplant.

Heat the remaining tbsp oil in the pan, add the bay leaf and red pepper flakes. Add in the chopped garlic and let the oil infuse with the flavors of these ingredients. Add in the onions and bell peppers and saute until crisp, but cooked. Add in the tomatoes next. Saute until soft. Add the seasonings: italian seasoning, oregano and tomato paste. Add the eggplant and zucchini that was set aside. Add salt to taste and a tbsp of water. Note, that we had not added salt at all, until this point. This is to ensure the vegetables don’t give out moisture, and so that they brown on sauteeing.

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Let this mixture come to a simmer and all the flavors meld, approximately 5 minutes. At this point, you may add chopped fresh herbs such as basil or parsley if you have them on hand. I didn’t so I skipped. Serve hot, as is, or with poached egg on top(recipe follows).

You can even use this as a filling for omelets or crepes. If on South Beach diet Phase 2, you can spoon this on top of cooked brown rice or cooked quinoa, to make a filling and delicious meal.

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To make the poached egg:
Fill a wide skillet with water to about 2-3 inches. Place it on the stove and bring it to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Add the vinegar. This helps hold the egg together. Crack the egg into a small bowl. Gently lower the egg into the simmering water, such that the lip of the bowl touches the surface of the water. The objective is to not break the yolk when dropping in to the water. Let the egg cook until desired consistency and remove with a slotted spoon.

Serve the hot ratatouille spooned into a bowl. Top with the poached egg. Sprinkle with coarse salt and freshly cracked pepper.

Verdict: This was an amazing bowl of comfort. Chock full of veggies and topped with the poached egg. It made a rich and beautiful sauce when you break the yolk and mix it with the ratatouille. Awesome! This is a dish worth trying even if you are not on a low carb diet.

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Sending this to Veggie/Fruits a MonthEggplant, Your Kitchen in Spring event and Lets Cook for Kids

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