Whatever you do, never call ratatouille “vegetable stew,” at least not if Remy is in the kitchen. Because ratatouille originated as a peasant dish, it was a daring choice for chef Remy to serve the dreaded food critic, Ego, in the film, "Ratatouille." But since its peasant beginnings, ratatouille has become one of the trademark dishes of the Provence region.
A ratatouille recipe is a blend of summer vegetables sautéed separately and then simmered together briefly before serving. Though time-consuming, this style of preparation preserves the shapes and brilliant colors of the individual vegetables and prevents them from becoming waterlogged. This article will teach you a standard ratatouille recipe; to learn other delicious recipes that will have you producing restaurant-quality meals in no time at all, I recommend the Copy Cat Cookbook.
The quantities and proportions of ratatouille are not exact and vary from chef to chef, but these cooking tips can help you refine your ratatouille recipe. That is what makes ratatouille the true test of a master……like our friend, Remy.
Remember that Remy's art lies not only in his cooking but in his presentation, so keep proportion and color in mind as you arrange the vegetables--think "Provence on a platter." Use these cooking tips when making this recipe for ratatouille. Here is a recipe for ratatouille that even master chef Remy would approve of. Here's how to make ratatouille:
1 large eggplant 2 green bell peppers 3 small zucchini
3 large tomatoes, coarsely chopped 2 cloves of garlic, minced 2 onions chopped (approximately 1½ cups chopped) olive oil sea salt fresh ground pepper 1 bay leaf 1 tablespoon fresh thyme 3/4 cup parsley leaves (optional) red wine vinegar (optional)
Cut the eggplant into medium cubes and place into a colander. Quarter the zucchini lengthwise, then cut into 1/2 inch pieces and place into a separate colander. Sprinkle the eggplant and zucchini pieces with sea salt and let stand for 30 minutes.
Core and seed the bell peppers, cut into small strips and set aside. Coarsely chop the onions and set aside.
After the eggplant and zucchini have stood for thirty minutes, drain and dry the eggplant and zucchini pieces with a towel.
Use four separate cooking pans to sauté the eggplant, zucchini, pepper and onion each in its own pan. Heat the olive oil before adding the vegetables. Sauté for approximately 15-25 minutes until soft, testing as you go. Do not overcook. Set aside.
In a large cooking pot, add olive oil, chopped garlic, bay leaf, thyme and chopped tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Cook approximately 8-10 minutes until the tomatoes are softened and tender but still have a bit of shape to them.
Place a third of the tomatoes in the bottom of a casserole dish and sprinkle 1 tablespoon of parsley on top.
Arrange half of the eggplant, zucchini, green pepper and onion on top of the tomatoes. Add half of the remaining tomatoes and parsley. Put the last of the eggplant, zucchini, green pepper and onion and finish with the remaining tomatoes and parsley.
Cover the casserole dish and simmer over low heat for ten minutes. Uncover and baste the casserole with the juices. Raise the heat slightly and cook uncovered for up to ten minutes more, basting every few minutes, until enough juice has evaporated that you have just a few spoonfuls of flavored olive oil.
Mince the parsley leaves and place them in a serving bowl. Place some red vinegar in a small pitcher. Serve the parsley and vinegar alongside the ratatouille.
Now you know how to make ratatouille. Ratatouille can be served hot as a meal all its own or cold as an hors d’oeuvre or accompaniment to cold meats. Ratatouille improves with time and reaches the height of its flavor on the third day. Enjoy this traditional dish that concentrates the essence of the Provence region.