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Summer Vegetable Ragout with Exotic Curry Sauce

[caption id="attachment_291" align="aligncenter" width="540" caption="The finished Summer Vegetable Ragout with Exotic Curry Sauce."][/caption]

From-scratch curry sauces can be pretty intimidating. Ingredients like lemongrass can be hard to find, and sometimes the sheer quantity of ingredients it takes to make a curry can send you running out of your kitchen and into the nearest Thai restaurant, where someone else will make it for you. But what fun is that? It's the Labor day weekend and there's plenty of time to get out the old mortar and pestle for a sauce-making adventure.

We're finally winding down from the squashy days of summer (summer squash, that is — what were you thinking?) But last week I still had some yellow squash and zucchini in the produce drawer, along with an eggplant, corn, and arugula. So to avoid letting any of it get past its peak, I made this dish, which incorporates them all in a surprisingly beautiful combination of flavors that will leave even the meat eaters at the table satisfied.

[caption id="attachment_292" align="aligncenter" width="540" caption="All of the vegetables are combined shortly before serving for a final re-heat in the oven."][/caption]

Lemongrass and ginger are pretty key to this recipe, so don't skip them; lemongrass can often be found in the fresh herbs section of the produce department of your local megamart, or in an Asian market. (Or, if you live in Winter Park, it's growing like crazy in a planter along Park Avenue — I'm sure they wouldn't notice if you snagged a stalk). Carrot juice is another key ingredient. I found a small bottle with the fresh fruit juices in the produce department. (If I had a juicer, I would have definitely used it!)

Summer Vegetable Ragout with Exotic Curry Sauce

This recipe is largely unchanged from the original, which appeared in the September 2010 issue of Bon Bon App├ętit magazine. If you like a saucier meal, double the curry sauce recipe — you don't have to use all of it but you at least know you'll have enough for everyone!

Ingredients for Curry Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 small onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 small carrot, peeled, chopped
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, coarsely chopped and pounded with meat mallet to flatten slightly (Jamie note: I chopped the lemongrass pretty fine and threw it in my stone mortar. I then proceeded to bash out the week's aggressions with the pestle. Works like a champ.)
  • 1 1-inch piece unpeeled fresh ginger, thinly sliced
  • 1 small Granny Smith apple, peeled, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder (preferably Madras)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 cups fresh carrot juice
[caption id="attachment_293" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Some of the Mise en Place -- curry powder and apple."][/caption]

Other Ingredients (Vegetables)

  • 1 1/2 pounds eggplants (about 2 medium), peeled, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 pound assorted summer

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