You could say that ratatouille is the epitome of French cuisine—simple, local ingredients lovingly seasoned and prepared with care. Although the eponymous film, which takes place in a high-end restaurant, might make it seem like a fancy dish, it actually couldn’t be more simple. It is, after all, just a vegetable stew, like many others you might find around the Mediterranean.
However, there are a couple things that make ratatouille stand out above other veggie stews. The first is local seasoning. Stewing your vegetables with a bouquet garni consisting of the traditional herbes de Provence (rosemary, marjoram, thyme, oregano, and even lavender) will infuse your ratatouille with the unmistakable flavor of the South of France.
The second tip is to cook each of the vegetables individually before stewing them together to make sure each ingredient maintains its flavor as much as possible. This little touch might add a few extra minutes to the preparation, but trust me, it’s totally worth it!
Yields: 4 servings
- 2 zucchini
- 1 green bell pepper
- 1 red bell pepper
- 3 tomatoes
- 1 eggplant
- 1 onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 bouquet garni
- Olive oil
- Salt ans pepper
Wash the vegetables and cut the zucchini, bell peppers, and eggplant into one-inch cubes. Cut the tomatoes into quarters and mince the onion.
Heat a dash of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat, add the bell peppers and brown for about 5 minutes. Remove the bell peppers from the pan and set aside, then repeat for the eggplant, followed by the zucchini.
Next, add the onions and tomatoes at the same time and cook for about 5 minutes. Then, add the browned bell peppers, eggplant, zucchini, and the bouquet garni. Season with salt and pepper, then cover and allow to simmer over low heat for 40 minutes, while mixing regularly.
Perfect with bistro pinot noir.