October 5, 2010

Ratatouille Throwback

In my fourth year of high school I was in french class and one of our assignments was to partner up and make a classic french recipe. My partner decided upon ratatouille and well, it sounded french to me. When we made the recipe I kept expecting there to be a grand finale but it turned out it was just a bunch of sauteed vegetables. I was underwhelmed thinking we picked the most unexciting recipe possible. Maybe it had something to do with being raised a vegetarian and more veggies was the last thing I needed to see. Some years later I have a much different take on this classic french recipe. I realize now that its beauty is in its simplicity. Paired with some crusty french bread and a glass of red wine and the meal feels downright decadent.

My inspiration for this comes from it being french week over at The Kitchn. DP and I took the opportunity to pick up a bunch of fresh veggies at the Kruger Farms roadside stand here in St. Johns and I was set. The recipe I got from The Kitchn was perfect, no revisions needed. I served this with some homemade garlic bread and a glass of red wine. Natch.

Dad's Authentic Ratatouille
Source - The Kitchn

Ingredients (feel free to play with proportions as this is a more or less situation):

2 large eggplants, peeled and cubed into 1-inch cubes
6-8 zucchini, coined
3 bell peppers, roughly chopped (red are classic, but use what you have on hand)
5 cloves garlic, whole
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 yellow onions
1 bay leaf
3-4 sprigs thyme (fresh thyme is the key to making this Ratatouille taste right)
1 can whole tomatoes or 4 large tomatoes that are nice and ripe
1 tablespoon olive oil

In a large pot sauté the onions in olive oil until brown, then add peppers and allow to soften. Stir in whole garlic cloves, tomatoes and bay leaf and turn heat down to a simmer and leave for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a separate pan, sautee eggplant and zucchini (they tend to get mushy if you throw them in with everything else but that can be good too and is easier than dirtying a second pan) until browned and softened.

Add the zucchini and eggplant to the simmering pot along with the sprigs of thyme and some salt and pepper (to taste) and allow to simmer at least another 20 minutes. Simmer longer if you want the flavors to really get good, or just reheat it the next day and you'll have the same effect.

Add the minced garlic on top or serve with some extra garlicy french bread as I did. And don't forget the red wine.


Separate but equal


All together now


The grand finale I was waiting for

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