Perhaps no dish is so classically Provençal as ratatouille, though like many classic
dishes, each cook has his or her own ideas about how to make it. This ratatouille is
based on a recipe I got from Monique Tourrette, who prefers to cut her vegetables in
very small pieces. She also adds a bit of bacon, which is delicious but, to my taste,
not necessary. If you want to try it, just cook 4 ounces of good-quality slab bacon,
cut into small pieces, along with the onions.
The final touches of parsley and vinegar are optional, but they add a little spice
which I find welcome, particularly when the ratatouille is first made. Incidentally,
ratatouille is like a good stew — it gets better and is actually at its height of flavor
on the third day.
We love ratatouille, and sometimes it is our main course, along with bread and a salad.
It is delicious as a sandwich filling, by itself or with cheese or ham, and it is also
wonderful spread on fresh bread dough and baked, as for a pizza.
Try a Coteaux du Languedoc Rosé or a Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence Rosé with this.
| (CLICK TO BUY)
1 large eggplant, cut into medium cubes
5 tablespoons olive oil
3 onions, peeled and cut into small cubes
Freshly ground black pepper (optional)
2 large green bell peppers, cored, seeded, and cut into small dice
1 large zucchini, cut into small cubes
1 pound plum tomatoes, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled, green germ removed, and minced
1 imported bay leaf
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
1 cup (loosely packed) flat-leaf parsley leaves (optional)
1/4 cup (60 ml) best-quality red wine vinegar (optional)
1 lemon, cut into eighths
Please Note: When plum tomatoes are unavailable, we may substitute another tomato in this recipe.
||Place the eggplant in a colander, sprinkle it with 1 tablespoon salt, toss, and
let sit for 1 hour. |
||Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425°F.|
||After an hour, rinse the eggplant quickly and pat dry. Place the eggplant and 2
tablespoons of the oil in a bowl. Toss so the eggplant is as evenly coated with the
oil as possible; then spread the eggplant in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake
in the center of the oven, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant is soft and
golden, about 40 minutes.|
||During the time the eggplant is salted or baking, prepare the rest of the dish: In
a large heavy skillet, combine 1 tablespoon of the oil with the onions. Stir, cover,
and cook over medium heat until the onions begin to turn golden and are very soft,
20 to 25 minutes.|
||When the onions are cooked, season lightly with salt, and pepper if desired.
Transfer the onions to a bowl and set them aside. In the same skillet, combine 1
tablespoon of the oil and the green peppers. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally,
until the peppers are olive green and tender, about 15 minutes. Remove the peppers
to the bowl with the onions.|
||Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet. Add the zucchini, toss so it
is coated with oil, cover, and cook until it is tender through, about 15 minutes. The
zucchini will lose some of its shape and texture.|
||Meanwhile, combine the tomatoes, garlic, bay leaf, and thyme in a medium-size
saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook until the tomatoes are
softened and tender through but still have some shape, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from
||To finish the ratatouille, combine the eggplant and all the other ingredients
in the skillet with the zucchini. Stir to combine, and season to taste. Let cook
just long enough so that the ingredients are hot through, about 5 minutes. Adjust
||Mince the parsley leaves and place them in a small serving bowl. Place the vinegar
in a small pitcher.|
||Transfer the ratatouille to a warmed serving platter, garnish it with the lemon
wedges, and serve the parsley and vinegar alongside.|
Excerpted from FRENCH FARMHOUSE COOKBOOK copyright © 1996 Susan Herrmann Loomis.
Reprinted with the permission of Workman Publishing Co., Inc. All Rights Reserved.