Ratatouille home-grown and homemade
French vegetable medly
Garden to table
Dinner with the gardener
Everytime I make this dish, I can hear Julia Child's voice. She is in my kitchen explaining the dish while she prepares the vegetables.
Ratatouille is a summer celebration. Every vegetable is from my garden. I make a double recipe of this French vegetable meal in the summer, freezing half for next winter.
In the winter, preferably a cold snowy day, I'll heat up a steamy bowl of ratatouille. That, a slice of fresh baked baguette and glass of wine, is about the best possible meal.
There are many ways to make ratatouille. Here is mine. Saute the onions and garlic. Then, I cook each vegetable separately – the eggplant, the bell peppers (and hot if using), then the squashes. Next, cook the tomatoes, add the other sauteed vegetables, wine, and the fresh herbs. Bring to a simmer.
The ratatouille is a humble vegetable stew. But come winter, it will taste just like a garden party in your mouth.
French Provençal vegetable dish
An old French Provençal vegetable dish, ratatouille is a combination of all the good things in my garden. The full name of the stewed vegetable dish is Ratatouille Niçoise.
A mixed vegetable dish, ratatouille is often served as a side dish or, a main dish served with bread or rice. Cut the vegetables smaller and use as a filling for crepes or an omelette.
- just enough olive oil, to saute vegetables
- 1 large onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 red pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1 green pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1 small hot pepper, finely chopped
- 1 medium or 2 small eggplants, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1 large or 2 small summer squash, cut into 1/2-inch dic
- 1 large or 2 small zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 3 large tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 6 or 8 fresh basil leaves
- 3 or 4 fresh thyme sprigs, stems removed
- Splash of your favorite red wine
Ratatouille is a gardener's reward
- In a large heavy Dutch oven, add just enough olive oil to saute onions until they are soft, add garlic then the peppers. Saute each vegetable individually, the eggplants then, zucchini and summer squash and finally the tomatoes.
- Add the tomatoes, and 1 cup water or vegetable broth, cook the tomatoes until they break apart.
- Return all vegetables to the pot. Add wine if you wish. Season with salt and pepper, add herbs and bring the pan to simmer. Adjust the seasoning.
Double the recipe
Make it your own
In Julia Child’s Ratatouille recipe, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, she finishes it as a casserole. “ ...to partake of a brief communal simmer.”
Chef Jacques Pépin 's Classic Ratatouille “...is superb cold as an hors d’oeuvre topped with small black olives and olive oil.”
Add extra tomatoes, a cup of broth and a glug of wine to your recipe to make it more soupy, like a thick vegetable stew.
The recipe was originally a peasant dish, so use what you have. Being an herb gardener, there will be a generous portion of fines herbes. This French herb combo has fresh parsley, chives, tarragon and chervil.
I'm growing three different eggplants and will include them all. As different mild and sweet peppers are available, they will be the star of this dish. Or, if the garden is bursting with summer squash each variety will be included.
Not a bell pepper fan? Got a bushel of sweet corn? Create your own version of this simple vegetable dish. Please share your recipe variations in comments.
Rate this garden vegetable medly
© 2012 Patsy Bell Hobson
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