“I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine.”
~ William Shakespeare
Tomato and thyme makes for a lovely savoury combo. I could very well make tomato & thyme tarts and it would suffice, but I will save it for the next time as I already had other plans for them. On top of thyme, I also bought bay leaves and parsley. I love herbs and am much too glad that my mum made good use of her green fingers to grow herbs. She managed to revive a pot of dying basil (it’s over-flourishing now!) and another pot half-wilted sage.
When it comes to plants, I know I can count on my mum because I have an entire stretch of jungled-corridor to prove it. She has ever harvested mini cherry tomatoes, and also cultivated a pot of apple plant. No sight of apples, obviously, although I suspect that at the furthest back of her mind, therein lies a belief that a miracle will happen one day.
I was in luck that evening, not because tomatoes sprouted overnight in my mother’s jungle, lol. These cherry tomatoes were going at a yummy $1.95/tray at NTUC. Yay! Not sure if it was a price mis-tagged in my favour though.
I made ratatouille twice, long ago. It was the stewed version that I made then and it was well-received, particularly enjoyed with pasta. This time, I made the elaborate version (Confit Byaldi) and meant for it to be enjoyed as a dish on its own. I couldn’t be more pleased with the results. You will have to bear with me on this photo-heavy post, because I love tomatoes and I love the colours this dish brings about. It’s hard to resist taking more photos–nevermind if I’m a few years late in making this version that was specially created for the movie. Do a google and you will be assaulted by a myriad of colours (as well as cartoon rats) on your monitor.
I’m guessing that the French must have big families, because after omitting yellow squash (the size wasn’t right, and seriously, it’s more than a vegetable farm in the fridge), and sliced tomatoes, I still ended up having to stow away leftover halfed-vegetables and still have enough to go around. If I could help it, I would use up all the vegetables as I don’t particularly like putting slaughtered vegetables back into the fridge. But pretty food has its price to pay.
Along with all the culinary gadgets and rest of the paraphernalia you can find in my kitchen, I have my all-wonder-mandoline that allows me to adjust the thickness from 0.5mm to 3mm precision. It was one of my best splurge, but I chose not to use it and sliced everything by hand. I know, a little part of me was rolling my eyes at myself, too. But at that moment it just felt like the right thing to do.
I had fun layering the vegetables and was chanting the food sequence in my head–or more accurately, the colour sequence: Green-red-purple-yellow-green-red-purple-yellow…you get the drift.
After baking, I sprinkled more thyme, truffle salt (thanks again, Big E & Alice!), rainbow pepper, and drizzled garlic & thyme infused olive oil. Healthy, comforting, and most definitely, pretty. Enjoy.