November 4, 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.
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!
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!
*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.
We’ve designed a handy ‘from the heart’ kitchen confidence rating scale for you to guide you through the recipes (yep, we think of everything)!
= Everyday deliciously simple. Pretty quick, just get the food on the table pronto!
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= You walk on water! You must be a Chef!
We’ve designed a handy budget rating scale for you to guide you (and your wallet) through the recipes. Recipes are graded from the ‘high-end caviar-type budget’ to the ‘lower-end spam canned meat type-budget’.
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