For me Ratatouille encompasses all the best that August/September has to offer. It’s delicate essence balances harmoniously with simple grilled or roasted meats. The subtle layers of flavor create a symphony that will make your mouth sing. For those of you who haven’t experienced Ratatouille, I suggest that this be your maiden voyage. The prep work is key, but the cooking is simple!
The recipe that I’ve adapted was found in a Martha Stewart Living magazine around 2006, but the recipe can not be found online… I’ve looked because I thought I lost my clipping. What I love about this recipe is that all the ingredients are roasted or blanched separately before they are combined, which I think adds additional dimensions of flavor. It can be eaten hot or at room temperature and it is extremely versatile, but be sure not to sure with anything too flavorful as there will be a competition of taste.
The first time I made Ratatouille it was this recipe, but being the novice cook that I was, accompanied it with a wild mushroom risotto. I can remember as if it was yesterday, we were still living in Astoria. Looking back on it now, I have no idea what I was thinking. The two dishes was so heavy and flavorful, I just felt overloaded. I know better now and reserve this dish for big backyard barbecues because it keeps well in the fridge and is even better the next day or serve the left overs (if there are any) with a simple roast chicken.
Ratatouille Serves 6 – 8
1 lg eggplant, cut into 1inch/ 2.5cm cubes (about 8 cups)
3 – 4 medium zucchini, cut into inch/ 2.5cm cubes (about 8 cups)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus 4 tbsp
2 – 3 tablespoons of fresh thyme leaves, chopped
6 lb/ 2.5kg tomatoes, blanched & cut into eights
4 bell peppers, 2 red, 2 yellow, roasted, peeled slices lengthwise about 3/4″/2 cm thick
6 cloves of garlic, minced (feel free to adjust quantity to your personal preference)
2 md onions, cut into half moons about 1/2″/ 1.25cm thick
1 large handful of fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
1 large handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
salt & freshly ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 400F/205C.
Combine cubed eggplant and zucchini in a large bowl with 1/2 of the thyme and 1/2 cup of the olive oil, season with salt and pepper and toss to coat the vegetables completely.