I've been in Europe for almost three weeks, probably my longest and most adventurous trip to date. 2 weeks ago I was in Lisbon (my new favorite city), 8 days ago I was driving across Italy by myself, 6 days ago I met up with my husband, and 2 days ago we checked into an airbnb in a small town in Provence. It's been quite an adventure with a lot of spontaneous exploring, however, I was so excited to finally check into a house instead of a hotel. A house with a cute little kitchen so that I could make us breakfast, and dinner, and lots and lots of tea.
Right now we have a fire going with some sticks of dried lavender burning along with it, and a variation of this ratatouille cooking on the stove. Ratatouille is one of my go-to's for when the weather is in-between cold and warm, and the veggies are in the middle of turning from summer into fall. It’s also a classic Provencal dish, so very appropriate for where we are right now. It’s easy to make, and if you cook up a big batch you can eat it over a few days. We plan on having the leftovers for breakfast tomorrow before we hit the road and head to the coast, stopping at a few more villages along the way.
Before I go devour this ratatouille, we need to discuss this quinoa, potato hash. If you’ve noticed, I’ve been on a little potato kick since the crispy potatoes. This hash falls into the same category as the crispy potatoes since it’s got the whole salty, crunchy, potato-y thing going on ……. but this is one that can cross over from breakfast into dinner, and has lots of different ways it can be served. Here I am keeping it in the skillet from stovetop to table, and making it part of the main event by serving it with the ratatouille right on top, but if you are in the mood for making this more of a side dish and serving this for breakfast, then by all means. Both the hash and ratatouille are addictingly delish on they’re own, but put them together and it makes a filling and impressive vegetarian main dish.
quinoa and potato hash + ratatouill
for the ratatouille:
a couple of tbsp of sunflower oil (or another high-heat oil)
1 medium sized eggplant, large dice (cut in half lengthwise, then cut in half again, and diced 1/2″)
1 large red onion, large dice
5 cloves of garlic, smashed and thinly sliced
a pinch or two of red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
1 yellow zucchini, large dice
1 green zucchini, large dice
about 15 grape tomatoes (the larger ones), cut in half
1/4 cup of white wine, or mirin
a few basil leaves, finely chopped
for the quinoa hash:
2 cups of potato, peeled and shredded (on a cheese grater)
2 cups of cooked quinoa
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
extra virgin olive oil
Mix together the ingredients for the quinoa potato hash:
- First, you want to squeeze out all of the excess water from the potato by placing the shredded potato into a nut milk bag, cheese cloth, or paper towel, and squeezing tight until all of the excess water is removed. Also, make sure you strain the quinoa once it's been cooked to remove any excess water. This is a key step for both, to make sure that the hash is extra crispy.
- Then, place the potato, quinoa, egg, salt, and pepper into a medium bowl, and mix to combine. Set it aside while you prepare the ratatouille.
Then, make the ratatouille:
- Heat a tablespoon of the oil in a large, deep pan over medium heat. Add the eggplant and cook for about 10 minutes until light brown and tender. If the eggplant has absorbed all the oil, add more so it does not stick to the bottom of the pan. Remove the eggplant and set aside.
- In the same pan, add a little more oil and the red onion. Cook for several minutes until the onion is soft and starting to brown. Then add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook for two minutes.
- Then add the yellow and green zucchini, and season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 7 minutes, until soft, and then add in the tomatoes. Cook for another 7 or so minutes, then add back the eggplant and stir to mix everything.
- Add the wine and cook for a few minutes until most of the wine has evaporated, and all of the vegetables are tender and cooked through. You should have a little bit of ”sauce” from the vegetables and wine left at the bottom of the pan. At this point, remove it from the heat and start the hash brown.
Cook the quinoa hash:
- Pre-heat the broiler. Make sure the rack is at the center of the oven.
- In a 9" cast iron skillet, heat a generous amount of olive oil (enough to cover the bottom of the pan) over medium-high heat. Then, place the quinoa hash mixture into the pan and press it so it forms evenly to the skillet, reaching the sides. Use a spatula to make sure the top is even and flat. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the bottom is brown. You can take a peak by using a spatula and lifting up one of the edges. It might need a minute or two more.
- Once the bottom is cooked, drizzle the top with a little more olive oil, and then place the hash (in the skillet) into the oven. Cook for about 5 minutes, checking often. Broiler cook very differently. Mine had a nice, golden crispy top after about 5 minutes .... but some might take less, or longer. Just keep and eye on it, and remove when the top is evenly golden brown, and the edges are pulling away.
Assemble and serve:
- If you want, you can place the ratatouille over low heat while your hash is in the broiler to heat it up.
- Then, finish with the chopped basil.
- To serve, I like to keep the quinoa hash in the skillet. If you want, you can remove the hash from the skillet and place it onto a large, round serving plate. It should slide out of pan easily.
- Then, using a slotted spoon, spoon the ratatouille on top of the quinoa hash. Serve by cutting slices (like a pie) of the hash with the ratatouille on top.