Ratatouille Part 2

Last year about this time, Leanne and I traveled to France to celebrate our 10 year anniversary. It was a vacation that we will never forget. We traveled all over the country enjoying that sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of this beautiful nation. One of our stops along our journey was the home of Renee Vachier, a family friend of the Lomickas (my wife’s family). Renee lives in the south of France near the Mediteranean city of Marsailles.

This two day stop in our adventure totally engulfed me in the french language and the food famous in the Provence region of France. One of the many dishes that I sampled here was none other than Ratatouille. Renee’s rendition of this native delicacy was unbelievable.

Having recently seen the Disney movie Ratatouille, I was inspired to look up a recipe that I thought I would share here. I don’t know how it will compare with the Vachier family recipe, but I’m sure it will bring back pleasant memories. We’ll see.

Recipe (12 servings makes about 4.5 litres)

1.6 kg tomato [tomate]700 g eggplant (2) [aubergine]500 g zucchini (2) [courgette]700 g bell pepper (2-3) [poivron]1 kg onion [oignon]6 cloves garlic [ail]Herbes de Provence (basilic,thyme, parsley)
olive oil [huile d’olive]salt, pepper [sel, poivre]140 g tomato paste

Common Method
This method, or a variation, takes fewer pots, is somewhat faster, yet keeps the flavors well and is commonly used. About 65 minutes cooking.

1. Peel and drain the tomatoes (don’t mind the seeds): cut out the stem cores; drop the whole tomatoes into boiling water for 2 minutes. Remove into a collander. The skin should split for easy removal; otherwise, make an X cut in the top, then peel off the skin.
2. Chop the onion and garlic. Clean the bell pepper, cut into small strips.
3. In a large cooking pot with thick bottom, put in olive oil, onions and chopped garlic. Add in the bell pepper. Cover to keep in the moisture. Cook for 20 minutes, stiring frequently, and add olive oil as necessary to prevent singing.
4. Add the peeled tomatoes and herbs de Provence. If you don’t have good garden tomatoes with flavor, add a small can of tomato paste. Stirr well and cook for another 15 minutes. [35′]5. Cut the eggplant into rondelles. Cut the un-peeled zucchini into rondelles.
6. Add the eggplant and zucchini to the pot. Cook for about 30 minutes. [65′]

1 kg = 2.2 lbs
0.45 kg = 1 lb
1 lt = 1.06 qt
0.95 lt = 1 qt
30 g = 1 oz = 2 Tbs
60 g = 2 oz = 1/4 cup
115 g = 4 oz = 1/2 cup
180 g = 6 oz = 3/4 cup
225 g = 8 oz = 1 cup
450 g = 16 oz = 1 pint

Until the next post….