One of my favorite things about summer is the variety of fruits and vegetables that are in season. In winter, things can get pretty boring (apples. Bananas. Apples. Bananas). But right now, there’s zucchini, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers…just what we need to make ratatouille.
While it is an excellent film, the movie Ratatouille can give you the wrong idea about the dish. First, ratatouille is a side, not a main course, and it’s considered a very homey, casual sort of thing. Secondly, the dish made in the movie is actually tian (in which the vegetables are sliced and then arranged in a pattern and baked together). In true ratatouille, the vegetables are diced and sauteed separately before being mixed and served.
The following is my adaptation of the ratatouille from my favorite cookbook, A Kitchen in France by Mimi Thorisson (who also runs a fantastic blog). You can make it all at once, but I personally find it easy to make the vegetables throughout the day and then assemble the dish before eating.
- 5 tomatoes
- 2 eggplants
- 2 zucchini
- 2 red bell peppers
- 2 large onions
- olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 bay leaf
- salt and pepper
Over medium heat, bring a large pot of water to boil. Once it is boiling, place the tomatoes in the water until the skin begins to crack. Remove them from the water and dry them off. Place a large pan over medium heat and coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil. Chop the onions into small chunks then place them in the pan with the bay leaf and allow them to saute, stirring every few minutes. Crush the garlic and add it to the pan, along with the thyme.
While the onions are cooking, dice the peppers. When the onions are done (they should be lightly browned), scoop them into a bowl, then add more olive oil to the pan and pour in the peppers. Again, saute them.
Repeat the same process with the zucchini and tomatoes, returning the bay leaf to the pan each time. Make sure to add salt and pepper to each vegetable.
When all of the ingredients have been sauteed, place a large pan over medium heat and add olive oil. Add all the ingredients to the pot, along with salt and pepper, and saute for a short time. Ratatouille must be served hot; if you are making it a while before dinner, the put a lid on the pan for storage, then reheat it on the stove when it is time to eat. Enjoy!