Learning to Cook: Ratatouille

I made this dish for ‘French Day’ at Nate’s. We watched Jean de Florette, The Red Balloon, and Tell No One. Fantastique!
In the words of Julia Child, ‘Ratatouille perfumes the kitchen with the essence of Provence and is certainly one of the great Mediterranean dishes.’ I failed to follow her recipe to the letter but I’m pleased with how my ‘lazy’ version came out- a delicious vegetable dish with rich flavors. It was just as good re-heated for lunch the next day.

1 kinda skinny eggplant
1 zucchini
1 yellow squash
2 smallish tomatoes, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1/2 onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, mashed and minced
olive oil
salt and pepper
thyme and basil

•Peel eggplant and cut into thin slices (I aimed for 1/4″ but I’m an uneven slicer)
•Wash zucchini and yellow squash, chop off the ends, and cut into similarly thin slices
•Toss all sliced veggies in a bowl with 1 tsp salt, let set for a bit, pat dry
•Give the vegetables a quick saute in some hot oil, remove to a side dish
•Cook the onions and peppers in the same skillet for about 10 minutes until soft, stir in the garlic
•Add the tomato bits on top, season with salt and pepper, cover and cook on low for 5 minutes
•Uncover, mix, and add about half of this mixture to the bottom of your dish (I used a deep pie plate)
•Start at the outer edge and carefully fan out eggplant/yellow squash/zucchini slices (I’m a sucker for this pretty Pixar presentation!)
•Sprinkle with a little thyme and basil
•Cover with parchment and bake at 365°f for 30-40 minutes
•Serve with hot, crusty bread!

7 thoughts on “Learning to Cook: Ratatouille

  1. Ratatouille “time consuming” or difficult?!? Please… It’s falling-down easy, quick-n-simple. Oh, and get a fat one (aubergine) and leave the skin on.

    • It’s certainly true that I’m a novice cook and find nothing easy. I started out following the recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking (linked above) which says to peel the eggplant and requires extra time/care to cook. Even after getting impatient and short-cutting, I still found it craaazy time consuming… but again, I’m a beginner. I’d love to try a version where you dice everything up and simmer it in a dutch oven or something. Please feel free to link me your recipe!

      • You hit the nail on the head, Steph! That’s just it! Chop it all up, and simmer it! BANG! It’s done. I’ve substituted canned chopped tomatoes, since for the greater part, they’re now out of season. The other veggies are typically grown by, and imported from our brethren in Mexico. A note: there is enormous similarity to Herbs de Provence and Italian style seasoning. So, if anyone likes Italian style, they’ll LOVE HDP and ratatouille! (My preferred blend includes basil, oregano, parsley, thyme, sage, rosemary, orange zest, lavender, cumin, savory, fennel seeds, marjoram, hot pepper. They may be blended according to personal preference.)

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