Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Ratatouille

France is renowned for its cuisine but much of it is meat based. French vegetarian dishes include tomato croque, mushroom tomato quiche, zucchini casserole with red peppers, creamed cauliflower casserole and the traditional Provencal Ratatouille. Ratatouille  is a stewed vegetable side dish that originated in Nice. It can also be served as a main course. Tomatoes are the key ingredient as well as zucchini, garlic, onions and herbs. French cooking strives to make the most of locally grown food. This is a great way to use summer produce. 
There is some debate among chefs what is the correct method to use when making this recipe. Some cooks insist on layering the vegetables as each are sauteed separately and then baked in the oven. While other cooks use the stove top method. 
Remember Remey the rat who aspired to become a French chef in the movie Ratatouille?


I really enjoyed this movie that I even purchased it. It is a heartwarming story that has many humorous moments. Renewed interest in Ratatouille recipes among cooks surged after this movie came out. I found the following recipe easy and quite flavorful. I might suggest making it the day before so the flavors can meld with each other. 
This recipe comes from Emeril Lagasse (Food Network Star)  
Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1-1/2 cups small diced yellow onion
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 2 cups medium diced eggplant (skin on) that has been salted after cutting, rinsed and drained so there isno bitterness
  • 1 cup diced green and red peppers
  • 1 cup diced diced zucchini
  • 1 cup yellow squash
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped tomatoes and patted dry on paper towels
  • 1 tsp. each of the following spices: basil, parsley, thyme or use 3 tsp, herbes de Provence
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
Directions:
  • If you have a wok that type of pan works well with this recipe
  • Set pan over medium heat and add olive oil
  • Add onions and garlic and cook till onions are lightly caramelized 5-7 minutes
  • Add eggplant and 1/2 tsp, thyme and cook about 5 minutes till eggplant is partially cooked
  • Add green and red peppers, zucchini and squash and cook 5 minutes more
  • Add tomatoes, rest of spices and salt and pepper to taste
  • Cook 5 minutes more
  • Stir to blend 
  • Optional sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top
This recipe can be served with rice or pasta and warm bread 

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"Life is pretty simple: You do some stuff. Most fails. Some
works. You do more of what works. If it works big, others
quickly copy it. Then you do something else. The trick is the
doing something else."
Leonardo da Vinci 

1 comment:

  1. LOVE ratatouille (both the dish and the movie). It was probably one of the first dishes I learned to make when I'd been experimenting with vegetables as a teenager. Back then I just made it without knowing how classic the dish was.

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