Ratatouille with Julie Hartigan’s Grilled Pimenton Shrimp

Ratatouille | Umami GirlIf this week’s haul from our CSA doesn’t scream ratatouille, I don’t know what does. Then again, there are times chez umami these days – and dinnertime does seem to be the new witching hour – when you’ve got to scream just to hear yourself think. Even if you’re an eggplant and a couple of tomatoes.

In addition to a surprisingly good movie of the same name, which features a gorgeous $275-tasting-menu-worthy version of the dish, if any food can be so worthy (a version apparently invented by Thomas Keller of The French Laundry and Per Se, who consulted on the film), there are at least as many variations on ratatouille as there are cooks. With this one, I’ve kept it simple (but rich in umami), in honor of ratatouille’s peasant origins, and not the least bit because it’s all I can do to put a meal on the table before the actual witching hour these days, even if that meal is takeout sushi. This week, we served ratatouille with Julie Hartigan’s pimenton-marinated seafood, in honor of our family’s pan-European origins. And not the least bit because serving a Franish (Spench?) meal with no apologies to either culture really does not register on my scream-o-meter at all at the moment.

Talk to you soon.

Carolyn xx


[simple-recipe id=”19967″]

When Julie made this for us, we ate it all before I could take a picture. Then, with the ratatouille, I used this marinade on some Montauk scallops. And we ate them all before I could take a picture. Both were good, but the shrimp were better. I’m almost convinced that it’s because scallops generally benefit from less culinary intervention, whereas scrappy little shrimp can easily stand up to a bit of bitchiness in a marinade. On the other hand, isn’t good food always better when someone else cooks it for you?

For dessert, if you live in Hoboken and aren’t part of the demographic that spends its evenings spilling sambuca on its knee socks and leather sandals at one of the soccer clubs, there is finally a bakery for you. Stop by sweet on the corner of Garden and 4th for a mini red velvet cupcake or four – you won’t be disappointed. I’ve been sucking them down so loudly that I can barely hear all you New Yorkers having a mighty laugh about how a pastel-colored corner bakery that isn’t even vegan could be “new.” Oh, well, we Jersey girls are used to a little lip from you all by now. As we like to say between blissful bites of mini cupcake, what doesn’t kill you makes you fatter.

Salud, cin cin and sante!