No weird ingredients, no offal, even no meat – for a change! I made this a few weeks ago, on one of the few fine weekends we’ve had. I’ve been enjoying celery a lot recently, and one of my favourite ways to eat it is in a simple tomato sauce – my mum used to serve celery & courgette like this all the time, and always referred to it as ratatouille – which I realise now is something of a misnomer – but what the hell, it’s still delicious.
Serves three (unconventional I know – this is just the number I cook for most of the time..)
Fried & Roasted Potatoes
3 large potatoes, chopped into half cm slices
1 onion, chopped
half a sweet red pepper , diced
1 teaspoon paprika
salt & pepper
4 celery stalks, cut into 1cm chunks
1 courgette, thickly sliced
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tin tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon dried herbs (optional – herbes de Provence or a mixture of basil and marjoram)
1/2 teaspoon of sugar
salt and pepper
1 head of broccoli, cut into long florets, keeping most of the stalk
1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Preheat the oven to gas mark 6 / 200° C.
Boil a kettle while you chop the potatoes, onion and sweet pepper. Pour the water into a large sauce pan, and the potatoes and bring to the boil for just a few minutes, to start the cooking. Drain the potatoes in a colander and let them stand to dry. Heat a large frying pan, on medium, pour in a good glug of oil, then add the onion. Add the potatoes and then the chopped pepper. Saute for 10-15 minute, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes have started to get a golden and crisp round the edges. Add another glug of olive oil, the paprika, and a good grind of salt and pepper and mix well. If you are using an oven proof frying pan, you can then stick this straight in the oven. If not, transfer to baking tray or oven proof dish and put in the oven.
While the potatoes are frying, you can start the “ratatouille” – heat some oil in a saucepan, and fry the onion on a low heat until it’s translucent. Add the garlic and the celery, and fry for a further 5 minutes. Add the dried herbs at this point, if using them, then the tin of tomatoes, the sugar and salt and pepper. Stir, bring to the boil then reduce the heat and cover with a lid.
Leave everything for about 20 minutes or so, stirring the sauce occasionally.
The potatoes should be starting to look nicely done now. Take the lid of the ratatouille; the tomatoes will have cooked down by now. Leave the lid off, and add the courgettes to the pan and let them cook until they’re just a little soft, and the tomato sauce reduced some.
Meanwhile, chop the broccoli, and heat some oil in frying pan on high. Once the pan is really hot, sear the broccoli, turning occasionally. Once you’ve got the broccoli nicely charred, transfer it to a warmed serving dish. Add the pepper flakes and the lemon juice.
Serve with lemon mayonnaise or crème fraîche.