Best French Ratatouille Recipes - Healthy, Tossed Eggplant, Vegetables, Tomatoes, Herbs
Derived originally from Provence in France, the name 'Ratatouille' comes from the word 'touiller' which means 'to toss food'. But it is too easy to get carried away and end up with a stew that jumbles too many tastes together.
Ratatouille is a vegetarian stew that combines fresh fruits, vegetables, onions, squash, pumpkin, eggplant and herbs. There are many ways to arrive at the final product.
It is important that the items are not overcooked and become mushy and lose their texture and individual tastes. Some of the options for cooking ratatouille are:
1. Stacking thinly sliced vegetables in layers and baking them.
2. Tossing all the cubed vegetables together
3. Cooking each ingredient separately to ensure they are just perfect and only assembling them into a final dish just before serving.
4. Adding the ingredients to the dish in order from the longest to cook ones to the least time to cook. This aims to have all items just perfect at the end
The best ratatouille is kept relatively simple and is based on a single theme. This partially depends on whether the ratatouille is to be served as a main dish, or as a side dish to accompany meat, fish, pasta of other dishes.
Ratatouille like meat and vegetables stews keeps well for the next day and can be frozen. It is nice served with crusty wholemeal bread and some cheese.
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 red onion, cut into thin slices
1 small zucchini, sliced or cut into cubes
1 small eggplant cut into moderate size cubes
Freshly-ground black pepper and salt to taste
1 small squash or 1/2 pumpkin, peeled and cut into cubes
1 tablespoon of vinegar (red wine, balsamic, apple or sherry).
1 1/2 cups of quartered tomatoes or cherry, tiny or grape tomatoes
1/2 cup of chopped fresh herbs such as basil, parsley, oregano, thyme
2 bell peppers, with seeds removed and cut into strips (roast for extra taste)
2-3 tablespoons of oil for frying such as grape seed, rice bran, safflower, or peanut oil
Preheat oven to 420 degrees F ( 215 degrees C). Put the eggplant into a bowl, add the oil, salt and pepper and mix to thoroughly coat the pieces. Distribute over a baking sheet and roast for 15-20 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of oil to a heavy frying pan, or Dutch oven and heat to hot. Add the zucchini, peppers, squash, onions and garlic and sauté while stirring for about 5-10 minutes until the onions are translucent and the other ingredients are just starting to soften. Next add roasted eggplant, raw tomatoes, and cook the assembled dish for about 15-20 minutes.
Add the herbs, vinegar, salt and pepper to taste and cook for an addition 5-10 minutes, stirring to combine all the ingredients. It is then ready to serve.
© 2013 Dr. John Anderson
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