When planning a Sunday Roast it’s easy to roll out the same veg each week. Everyone loves a great roast potato, but what about other vegetable? Victoria Glass is a big fan of ratatouille and found it made an perfect partner for rack of lamb!
I’ve always loved ratatouille, from first tasting it on a family holiday in France, to making it in my first Home Ec class at school. So in love with its charms, ratatouille was an absolute staple of mine as a student. It was simple, rustic, cheap and nourishing and I could make a big vat of it that would last over three or four days. Perfect on top of a jacket potato or turned into vegetable lasagne, ratatouille is a versatile beast. I liked it best served simply with roast chicken or, even better, a lamb chop. So, naturally, I leapt at the chance to try Pascal Aussignac’s recipe for ratatouille with grilled rack of lamb as soon as possible.
My partner’s family came over for Sunday lunch to celebrate his mum’s birthday, which felt like the perfect excuse to give it a go. I doubled the quantities to allow for the extra guests and set to work peeling, roasting and chopping. This is certainly not your average one pot rustic fare. This recipe requires a lot of processes and a lot of pans, but don’t let that put you off from having a go. I really loved the idea of oven roasting the tomatoes first, but I ended up adding a few extras than the recipe states. I adore tomatoes and, because of this, I tend to buy them in bulk whenever they’re on offer. This often means I have to use them up unexpectedly quickly, after discovering the ones at the bottom of the bowl are suddenly “on the turn”.
In fact, I am such a tomato-head that rarely a day goes by during tomato season when I don’t gobble up at least one or two as part of my lunch. Tomatoes contain lycopene, which, studies report, acts as a natural sunblock for your skin – good news indeed in the glorious weather we’ve been having. The amount of lycopene increases when the tomatoes are cooked (so tinned toms and ketchup do the job too), which is bad news for people following raw food diets, but fantastic news for my ratatouille.
The only other tweak I made to the recipe was to chop up the sage and chuck it back in the pot when I reheated it, as it seemed a shame to throw it away. I also cooked the lamb for slightly longer, as our guests preferred their chops blushing pink rather than ruby rare. I made some crunchy roast potatoes cooked in duck fat (well, it was a special occasion) to go with it.
The combination of intensely aromatic and garlicky ratatouille with soft, juicy lamb is a real winner. I might try oven roasting all the veg next time to save on washing up, as the weather’s too nice to spend much time elbow deep in hot soapy water. Either that, or see if I can offload the dirty dishes onto some other sucker. I’d rather be sitting outside, sipping a Bloody Mary.
You’ll find this recipe and over 100 more in Great British Chefs Summertime App. Let us know your favourite vegetable dishes to accompany a summertime Sunday roast.