Ratatouille

Eggplants at the Capital Region Farmers Market

I’m often inspired to make this great French classic when a beautiful eggplant takes my fancy. I don’t often use zucchini either, so ratatouille provides me a good opportunity. Today I also had some lovely tomatoes, so I skinned some fresh ones rather than using a can. I do prefer the outcome. Ratatouille is so versatile. It’s a great accompaniment to baked chicken breast. But I love it atop a bowl of lovely pasta, possibly lubricated with good olive oil and/or a little knob of butter. I also once made some delightful little ratatouille filo cups, by merely buttering up a few layers of filo and shaping them into muffin tins and grating a little pecorino in the bottom. Bake them till golden. If you’re going to serve them immediately, fill with warm ratatouille. Otherwise, allow the pastry to cool, fill with ratatouille then transport. Take the chill off the cups by reheating in a warm oven before serving. On a cold wintery evening like tonight, this incredibly delicious wholefood recipe is sure to warm you up, guilt free, if you’re vegetarian or not.

3   vine ripened tomatoes*
1   eggplant
1   zucchini
1   red capsicum
1   Spanish onion
1 clove garlic
1   bay leaf
    salt and pepper

* replace with a tin of tomatoes

Ratatouille before cooking

To prepare the vegetables cut the onion in half and thinly slice. Finely chop the garlic. Cut the eggplant, zucchini and capsicum into sticks about five millimetres squared and 5 cm long. Score the skin of the tomatoes in two directions. Bring a small saucepan of water to the boil. Turn off the heat. Add one tomato to the pan and submerge for a few seconds, until the skin begins to part at the scoring. Remove from the water and repeat with remaining tomatoes. Peel the skins away from the tomatoes. Slice tomatoes and discard the seeds. Cut tomatoes into similar sized pieces as the other vegetables.

Ratatouille after cooking

To cook the ratatouille heat a little olive oil in a lidded frypan. Gently fry the onion and garlic until beginning to soften. Add the eggplant, capsicum, zucchini, bay leaf and season to taste. Cover and cook gently for about 90 minutes, till vegetables are soft and most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove the bay leaf and check the seasoning. Use ratatouille as desired.

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This entry was posted in Autumn, Dinner, Gastronomnom...nom, Lunch, Produce, Seasons and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Ratatouille

  1. Pingback: Baked chicken breast with ratatouille and three cheese potato gratin | Susan's Sumptuous Suppers

  2. Pia says:

    My French host grandmother would love the use of fresh tomatoes in this. She maintained that each vegetable in the ratatouille should be cooked separately, only added together in the very final stage to ensure that their different tastes and textures could remain in the finished product. (A bit of a luxury by modern standards, and perhaps one of the reasons she preferred to make it “properly” only on the holidays.) In any case, absolutely no canned tomatoes for her!

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