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Take a little break from shakshuka

Kat Kinsman
October 16, 2017

Shakshuka will save your soul and your sanity; that's been well established. Saute some aromatics, tomatoes (canned, even), and possibly some peppers, plop some eggs in there and you're pretty much breakfasted up. But while the last vestiges of warm weather remain, and competent tomatoes, eggplants, sweet peppers, and zucchini are still within your grasp, consider rotating ratatouille into your morning repertoire. This way you'll start the day with a full serving of delicious, life-awesomeing vegetables, and go about your business in a confident, well-fed fashion.

No, you're not crafting this ratatouille the morning-of. You'd have to crawl out of bed at, like, 4 a.m. and contend with sharp objects, and that seems like a recipe for pain and sadness. Stay in bed, knowing that you have this glorious melange lurking in your fridge or freezer, ready to deploy at a moment's notice. 

Not gonna gloss over it here—classic ratatouille takes time, but it's entirely worth it and you should just go with Francis Lam's weapons-grade ratatouille recipe if you're taking that route. But should you care to streamline the process and have access to an Instant Pot, the road to breakfast ratatouille can be considerably shortened. (Note: If you have a pressure cooker, this basic method will adapt as well.)

Assemble your ingredients. The vegetables listed up above are pretty standard, and you don't need to be especially fastidious about the amount or ratio. If you like zucchini, skew heavily that way. If it's tomatoes you favor, have at it. Peel or don't peel—your choice. Add olives or capers if you fancy. Cut all these into half-inch chunks, and feel free to pulverize or even blend the tomatoes. Set them aside. It's fine if they're all in the same bowl, because they're about to get to know one another extremely well. Season the whole mess with salt and pepper.

Then have a short reckoning with yourself about herbs. Basil and thyme are boon companions to these vegetables, but if you've got an excess of another you like, invite it into the mix. Do all the requisite de-stemming, chiffonading, and whatnot to remove any stems or woody bits. Let those hang tight for a moment.

Grab a few onions, cloves of garlic, shallots, or even leeks, and mince them. Then fire up a the saute function of the Instant Pot, pour in a sloppy quantity of olive oil, and once it starts to shimmer, add these alliums. Stir and stir and stir them into a golden mess, then add the herbs and stir some more, making sure that nothing is sticking and burning onto the bottom. Goodness, your house will smell intoxicating. Once that's thoroughly gloppy and glorious, shut off the heat.

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Those vegetables you chopped and seasoned—they've been working during this time, casting off water. Pour out any excess from the bowl, pushing and squeezing if that feels reasonable to you. Pat the vegetables as dry as you can, then add them to the Instant Pot along with even more olive oil. (There's no need to add additional liquid because the vegetables will give off plenty of water.) Seal the Instant Pot, press the Meat/Stew button, and go wash your dishes and tidy up. You've got 35 minutes, plus the time it takes to get to high pressure. When that's finished, release the Instant Pot manually and carefully (it's hot) peer inside to see how things are going. Stir, pour off any excess liquid, and add more oil if needed. Then reseal and hit that Meat/Stew button again. Develop a 35-minute hobby, or clean out your fridge a little. 

Then manually release the pressure again, and gaze upon what you have made. If things are still a little watery, pour off what you can, hit that saute button and keep stirring (and oiling) until the mixture is thick and makes a satisfying sluck sluck sound, like a rubber boot through mud.  

You can eat what you'd like, but make sure to leave a good helping in the fridge for breakfast. When you awake, plop a quantity of the now thoroughly melded ratatouille into a deep skillet and warm it evenly throughout over low heat. Then crack eggs into cups, make little divots in the ratatouille, and slide an egg into each. Then cover and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, or slide the whole skillet into a warm oven until the eggs are set. Then eat.

Excess ratatouille will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days, or frozen in a zipper-lock bag with the air pressed out for a few months.

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