Saturday, October 15, 2011

Ratatouille

Susan Hermann Loomis, in her book, French Farmhouse Cookbook, says that "perhaps no dish is so classically Provencal as ratatouille."  I absolutely love it and try to eat it as often as possible while in France.  We have made "medleys" of these same vegetables at our house before, but never before cooked each vegetable individually before melding them all together in the end.  Until today....

In Loomis' cookbook, she has a recipe that she got from Monique Tourette, therefore it bears her name.  Yes, it does take some cleaning up, and the chopping can be time consuming, but the recipe makes a fair amount and much can be done with it.

It can be a main course along with bread and a salad.  How about a sandwich filling, by itself or with cheese or ham?  You can even spread it on fresh bread dough and bake it as a pizza.  It also gets better with age and supposedly reaches peak flavor on the third day.  I doubt it will last that long around here.
I know most of you have gardens that have come to an end, but I would really suggest you try this, and enjoy!!

Monique's Ratatouille
La Ratatouille de Monique
from Susan Hermann Loomis and French Farmhouse Cookbook

1 large eggplant, cut into medium cubes
sea salt
5 tablespoons olive oil
3 onions, peeled and cut into small cubes
Freshly ground black pepper
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 and minced
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried

1.  Place the eggplant in a colander, sprinkle with 1 tablespoon salt, toss and let sit for 1 hour.  After 1 hour, rinse the eggplant quickly and pat dry.  Place in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of oil.  Toss so the eggplant is coated with the oil and then spread in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Bake in the center of the oven, 425 degrees, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant is soft and golden, about 40 minutes.

2.  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 minutes.  When done, season with salt and pepper.  Transfer onions to a bowl and set them aside.

3.  In the same skillet, combine 1 tablespoon 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.

4.  Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet.  Add the zucchini, toss to coat in oil, cover and cook until tender throughout, about 15 minutes.

5.  Meanwhile, combine the tomatoes which have been peeled and cubed, garlic, bay leaf and thyme in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium high heat.  Cook until the tomatoes have softened and are tender but still have some shape, 8 to 10 minutes.  Remove from the heat.

6.  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 10 minutes.  Adjust the seasoning.

Minced parsley leaves can be used to garnish along with lemon wedges.  Vinegar is also comely used as a garnish for ratatouille.

11 comments:

  1. What a great dish, Susan! The colors are gorgeous and I didn't realize what a versatile dish it is. Thanks for the info and recipe! It's on my must make list!

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  2. So wonderfully Provence. I wish I could get my husband to like eggplant. Everyone else in his family loves it and tell him if they taste theirs, he will like it, all to no avail. I've given up and guess I'll have to make it for myself. Thanks for sharing Susan Loomis' recipe Susan. She should certainly know ratatouille.
    Sam

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  3. Anonymous9:28 PM

    I sometimes serve it over pasta and top it with parmesan or feta. Quite good.

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  4. I make this often, but have never made it by cooking all the vegetables individually. I don't know that I have that sort of patience!

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  5. Love this combination of veggies and spice! Sounds very good. blessings ~ tanna

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  6. I just love ratatouille and haven't made it in a while. I love it over pasta and for breakfast, spooned over a fried egg!

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  7. I have not made Ratatouille(love that name) in a very long time. love reading about your recipe and now I am tempted.
    Rita

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  8. Sounds sooo good. Thanks for the recipe.
    Good luck on winning my giveaway.:))

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  9. Every so often, I want to eat vegetarian. This looks colorful and savory. I'd love it on scrambled eggs, even. This is a perfect fall comfort dish, and even healthy!

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  10. This looks like a wonderful recipe, Susan! So much more delicious when it brings back fond memories too. Like Sam's husband, my hubby does not like eggplant and it is such an essential part of ratatouille.

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  11. I have done a version of this for years utilizing the last vegetables of summer. I freeze several quart containers for our "touch of summer" in winter. I've not done the vegetables separately but will give that a try as Susan(s) have never steered me wrong in the past.

    Best,
    Bonnie

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