Bonjour everyone… So ratatouille… You have seen the cartoon, you’ve heard about a little mouse that can cook?… But do you know what the ratatouille dish really is? It is the essence of southern France, you’ll love it… Here’s what you need for “Ze perfect taste of Provence”
The ingredients… Les ingredients…
This is the kind of recipe where the amount of ingredients really does not matter so much, if you like more tomatoes…. well put more tomatoes, if you’d rather have more eggplant… well enjoy… but here is a guideline for 4/5 persons:
- 2 nice zucchinis or courgettes
- 2 nice eggplants or aubergines
- 1 green pepper
- 1 red pepper
- 250gr/9 oz of tomatoes ( I use cherry tomatoes )
- 3/4 cloves of garlic
- 3 mid sized onions
- 2 bay leaves (Fresh if you have)
- pinch of salt
- Pepper from the mill
- 6 table spoons of olive oil
Preparation 45 min Cooking time 2h30/3h00
The Recipe… La recette….
First to set the Provençal mood, pour yourself a nice glass of rosé with a few olives…. or , like me, chose a Pastis from Marseille (an Anis flavoured Apperitif from the south of France) typically drunk in the Provençal area.
If you can, buy your vegetables locally. You need to wash them thoroughly and cut them all in small dices…. I use a Japanese chef knife.
Once all your vegetables are diced, put a large pot on a medium fire and pour half of the olive oil. Place inside the hot oil the garlic, the onions, the thyme and the bay leaves.
Cook and mix for about 5 minutes.
Before the onions starts to be coloured, put in the rest of the vegetables.
Add salt, pepper, a little more thyme and the rest of the olive oil…. mix….and mix…and mix (“Touiller” in French means mixing)
Cover and leave for about one hour, mix from time to time. After one hour you will notice that there is some cooking juice in the pan, you can then remove the lid…
if during the cooking prosess you notice that there is a lot of juice, you can strain the vegetables out of the pan, reserve them, and put the juice on a hot fire to reduce it. Once the juice is reduced, you can put the vegetables back inside the pot and continue cooking on a medium fire.
After 2 hours the texture of the vegetables will have changed, you can taste and rectify the seasoning.
A lot of water should have evaporated and the vegetables should be confit in the olive oil. Note that a real ratatouille is never with crunchy or “al dente” vegetables…
This dish is even better the next day when you reheat it for the second or the third time.
For the perfect vegetarian meal take three or four spoons of ratatouille and garnish it with a fried egg.
If you want an oriental flair, add one spoon of paprika powder, half a spoon of spicy red pepper powder and you will get close to a North African Chackchouka.
The ratatouille can also be eaten cold as a salad, it’s perfect for a hot summer day.
The rataouille will be the perfect side dish for your grilled meats and grilled fish…