Saturday 13 September 2014

Ratatouille with Mussels and Lemon Balm

In a little twist to the usual ratatouille - vegetables in a tomato sauce - this has a few handfuls of fresh and plump Northumbrian mussels and a good dose of lemon balm rather than basil. Lemon balm is a herb that is rarely used in modern day cookery but grows so well in any domestic garden. But with its surprising citrus fragrance and earthy taste, it is a natural herb to accompany shellfish. It is also brilliant in a lemon ice cream. Enjoy.

Ratatouille with Mussels and Lemon Balm
Feeds 4

1 aubergine, cut into small chunks
2 courgettes, halved and sliced into chunks
1 yellow pepper, deseeded and sliced into chunks
3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 clove of garlic, sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tins of plum tomatoes
1 tbsp balsamic or red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
6 handfuls of live mussels, cleaned
A handful of lemon balm or basil leaves, finely sliced

1 - Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the aubergine and cook, tossing regularly, until beginning to turn golden. Remove and set aside.
2 - Heat up the remaining tbsp olive oil and add the peppers and courgette. Cook, tossing regularly until beginning to soften and turn golden. Remove and set aside.
3 - Heat up the olive oil in a separate pan and add the onion and garlic. Cook for a few minutes then tip in the tomatoes. Bring to the boil, stir in the vinegar and cook for 10 minutes until beginning to reduce and deepen in colour.
4 - Tap any open mussels onto a hard surface. If they do not close, throw away. Put the mussels into the tomato sauce, put on the lid and cook for 5 minutes. If the mussels have not opened properly, throw away.
5 - Stir in the vegetables and heat through. Taste for seasoning. Sprinkle on the lemon balm and serve with rice or crusty bread.


Chef Jeena said...

Wow mussels in a Ratatouille sounds great!

Have a great time David I bet the food will be amazing. :-)

Jan said...

That sounds great, David. I love the combination of mussels and ratatouille.

Au revoir, mon ami, j’espère que vous avez les bonnes vacances en France.

Lesley said...

Have a great holiday David. Can't wait to hear all about the food!!


Joanna said...

Mmm, sounds good - I have lemon balm growing in the garden, but only use it to make delicious tea ... this has definitely set me thinking

Have a lovely time in France


William Leigh said...

good stuff matey, have a fab holiday!

Hannah said...

Have a lovely holiday all of you! Very jealous!

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

Enjoy your holiday sounds envious with all that there is to offer:D

Abitofafoodie said...

Love, love, love ratatouille. The lemon balm is an interesting twist.

Hope you have a fantastic holiday en France.

Anonymous said...

Lovely addition of the lemon balm and mussels David. I love ratatouille - all down to the quality of the veg though. This has got to be the perfect time to make it. yum!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Do you need anyone to help carry your bags while you're in France. You may not know it by picture, but I'm remarkably strong. ;)

Wishing you safe and happy travels, my friend.

Aimée said...

Leave it to you, David, to turn a simple ratatouille into an unforgettable meal. I bet the fragrance is unforgettable.
Bon voyage!

Jacqueline Meldrum said...

Au revoir David *wave*. Have a great holiday!

Deborah Dowd said...

This looks awesome and I am adding to my menu for France night as we make our way around the world with food during the Olympics. Have a wonderful time and take lots o pictures!

Sam Sotiropoulos said...

David, have a great holiday! Thanks for sharing this ratatouille with mussles recipe, it looks and reads quite tasty.

Poonam said...

Hey lovely blog! I love ratatouille.

maybelles mom said...

oh, delicious. we had ratouille the other night; I wished I had some left to make with mussels.

Unknown said...

Enjoy the hols marra, can't wait for the recipes and photos when you get back :-))

Rosie said...

This sounds absolutely fantastic David!!

Wishing you and yours a great time in France can't wait to hear all about it :)

Rosie x

Cynthia said...

Have a great time with the family!

The H.I. said...

Hey man, blog looks great as usual. We're heading back to the homeland in a few weeks for the annual 'summer' trip, summer being used very loosely. Anyway might be heading across the channel ourselves so no doubt lots of food and drink will be had. Have a great one.

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