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Smoky Ratatouille Salsa

This slow-cooked salsa is inspired by the wonderful flavours of a classic French ratatouille, with a healthy hit of Mexican chipotle from Gran Luchito Chipotle Paste. This makes a great salsa to enjoy as a side for a barbecue, or try it blended and use it as a spicy alternative to tomato sauce for pasta or a homemade pizza.

We cooked this recipe as part of our exciting collaboration with Big Green Egg, makers of excellent Kamodo-style ceramic barbecues. This recipe lends itself really well to cooking in this way by using the hot grill method to begin, charring the vegetables, then turning the temperature down for a slow and steady cook to develop those big, bold flavours. If you don’t have a Big Green Egg however, you could do easily adapt this for a normal oven.

  • Prep time

    30 mins

  • Cook time

    2 hours 30 mins

  • Total time

    3 hours

  • Ideal for

    Barbecue

  • Make it

    Mexican

  • Serves

    6

How to make it

  1. Preheat Big Green Egg to 200C (top vent is closed, with daisy wheel fully open. Bottom vent is open about a third. Set up for indirect cooking, with plate setter with legs up and cast iron grill on top).
  2. Quarter peppers, courgettes, aubergines and onions lengthways. Leave garlic cloves unpeeled and whole. Place in a large dish (you might need to do this in batches) and pour over a couple of generous lugs of olive oil, and a good sprinkle of salt and pepper. Mix well making sure the surfaces of all the vegetables are covered.
  3. When up to temperature, place vegetables on cast iron grill rack and cook until nicely charring, before turning and repeating on other side. Try to keep the lid lowered as much as possible, but take care to burp your Egg when opening. Don’t worry too much if the vegetables get a bit burnt as you’ll be removing the burnt skins later.
  4. Remove charred vegetables from Egg, place in a pot with a lid on and leave to cool for 15 minutes (the steam will help to loosen the skins to be removed). Close lid on egg and reduce temperature to around 150C (close the daisy wheel so it’s about half open, and close the bottom vent so it’s about 2 finger’s width open).
  5. Meanwhile, when the vegetables have cooled enough, get your hands involved and remove burnt skins as best you can. Depending on how charred you got them, it should just rub away. But don’t worry if you can’t get it all off. Discard skin, stalks and any remaining pepper seeds.
  6. Cut everything into rough chunks and place in a large cast iron pot with a lid (the Big Green Egg Dutch Oven is perfect for this) along with roughly chopped tomatoes, a good lug of olive oil, Gran Luchito Chipotle Paste, chopped thyme leaves and a splash of balsamic. Place on the egg with lid on and cook for around 2 hours.
  7. Remove lid and cook for another 30 minutes to get rid of some of the liquid and let some of that smoke in.
  8. Remove from Big Green Egg, leave to cool a bit then stir through freshly chopped oregano or basil. Serve warm or cold as a snack or side. Alternatively, blend up to a smooth sauce and use in place of tomato sauce on a pizza with the Big Green Egg pizza stone (we can vouch for this idea, they went down an absolute storm!).

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