Ratatouille with Pan-Fried Cod

Sea Tales' chef Bart van Olphen used to work in restaurant Lucas Carton in Paris in the 1990's. It was there that he learned how to prepare ratatouille at three-Michelin-star level, which involves cooking the vegetables individually before combining them.
  • 2 Recipe - persons
  • Recipe - time: 45 minutes
  • Recipe - difficulty

Recipe - ingredients

  • 2 large tomatoes
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 bell peppers (whichever color you prefer), seeded, cut into 1/4-inch (6 mm) cubes
  • 1/2 medium eggplant, cut into 1/4-inch (6 mm) cubes
  • 1/2 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch (6 mm) cubes
  • 2 thyme sprigs, plus extra for garnish
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 medium fennel bulb, cored and sliced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dry vermouth or white wine
  • 1 cup (240 ml) fish stock
  • Scant 1/2 cup (100 ml) light cream
  • 2 skin-on cod fillets (about 4 to 5 ounces/120 to 130 g each)

Recipe - how do you make it

Recipe - steps

  • 1 Bring enough water, to just cover the tomatoes, to a boil in a saucepan. Cut a shallow X into the botter of each tomato. Submerge them in the boiling water for 10 to 20 seconds, then immediately remove with a skimmer and cool them under cold running water. Remove the skins, cut the tomatoes in half, and remove the seeds. Cut the flesh into small cubes.
  • 2 Heat a splash of light olive oil in a frying pan or a saucepan oven medium-high heat and cook the bell pepper until it softens, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate. In the same frying pan, heat another splash of oil and cook the eggplant until it softens, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the eggplant to another plate. Add another smash of oil to the frying pan and cook the zucchini until soft, 2 to 3 minutes, then set it aside. All the ratatouille vegetables should be equally tender.
  • 3 Combine the pepper, eggplant, and zucchini in a large saucepan. Add the thyme and tomatoes, pour in 3 tablespoons olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Mix well and gently simmer, covered, over low heat for 10 minutes, to allow the flavours to blend. Turn the heat down as low as possible to keep the ratatouille warm.
  • 4 Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and fry the fennel until softened, 4 to 6 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the vermouth, then add the fish stock and cream. Lower the heat and reduce the sauce by two-thirds, 7 to 10 minutes. Discard the fennel. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  • 5 Pat the cod dry with a paper towel and sprinkle both sides with salt. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium frying pan over medium-high heat and add the fish, skin side down. After 2 to 3 minutes, when the skin is crispy, carefully flip the fillets with a spatula. Fry the other side until the flesh is opaque, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the fish from the pan.
  • 6 Serve the ratatouille topped with the fish, skin side up, and a generous splash of olive oil. Serve the fennel sauce on the side.