“Something Blue” Roasted Vegetable Ratatouille

By Jackie DeKnock  ,   

September 20, 2015

Ratatouille is a tasty vegetable stew from Provence, served either hot or cold, as a main course, or to garnish grilled meat or fish dishes. Stir his heart – ‘touiller’ means ‘to stir’ en francais.

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  • Yields: Serves 2 (with leftovers)

Ingredients

1 pound zucchini, thinly sliced

1 pound eggplant, thinly sliced

1 yellow Spanish onion, thinly sliced

1 pound red, yellow or orange bell peppers, thinly sliced (your pick)!

1 shallot, sliced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 ½ pounds tomatoes, peeled and quartered (or 1 large can tomatoes)

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more as you need it

1 bay leaf

2 sprigs thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dry thyme

1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence*

1 teaspoon basil

½ tablespoon sugar

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Method

Prepare all vegetables:

Thinly slice zucchini (cut in half first as it speeds up chopping time). Peel and thinly slice eggplant (cut in half first). Once the eggplant is sliced, lightly salt the eggplant slices on one side to draw out water and remove eggplant acidity. Layer the eggplant on top of one another creating a tower. Allow to sit until you are ready to start cooking eggplant!

Thinly slice the onion, peppers and shallot, and mince garlic.

If using fresh tomatoes, slice a ‘star’ at the bottom of the tomato skin. Blanch the skin by placing in a pot of boiling water keeping the tomatoes submerged for 20 seconds. Peel the skin starting from each of the edges of the ‘star’,and slice, widthwise, into 1 1/2 cm rounds.

The main technique is to caramelize all of the vegetables! Heat a large Dutch oven with 4 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. When hot, lightly saute the garlic then add the shallot and cook for a minute. Add the onion, bay leaf, thyme, Herbes de Provence and basil and cook down the onions until they are soft but not browned (about 10 minutes 10 Minutes).

Squeeze and pat dry eggplant to remove acid and add to the Dutch oven. Add a small drop of water and cover for a few minutes. Uncover, stir and cook until eggplant starts to caramelize. Add zucchini, stir and cook until caramelized. Then, add the peppers and a large pinch of salt. Allow the peppers to caramelize and cook until soft.

Once all of the vegetables are soft, add the tomatoes with juices and sprinkle with the sugar to release the acidity from the tomatoes. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine, cover and cook on low heat for 30 minutes 30 Minutes until vegetables are caramelized and flavours are melded together. Add salt and pepper to taste and cook covered for another 10 minutes 10 Minutes . Remove bay leaf and thyme sprigs (if using fresh thyme). Enjoy this delicious caramelized vegetable dish!

Tip: Ratatouille doubles as a delicious pasta sauce as well. Mix with warm pasta and top with Feta cheese and you're in heaven!

*I’ll make the Herbes de Provence Spice Blend for you one day real soon. It’ll be available at the online store - just let me know when you need it!
In the meantime…here’s how to make your very own Herbs de Provence, the famous mixture of herbs commonly found in the south of France. Mix together 1 tsp. dried thyme, 1 tsp. ground rosemary, 1 tsp. summer savory, 1/2 tsp. lavender (optional but traditional), 1 tsp. marjoram, 1 tsp. dried basil, ½ tsp. dried sage, ½ tsp. dried oregano. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Crush slightly with a mortar & pestle or the back of a spoon. Store in an airtight container and love your taste of France.


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