This famous preparation is world renown and has equally delicious cousins throughout the Mediterranean. Even though many people claim that ratatouille is the quintessential Provençal dish, it is not even listed among the 1,123 recipes in J. B. Rebouls classic Provençal cookbook from the late nineteenth century, La cuisiniére Provençale. Ratatouille is actually a relatively modern invention, one that could not occur until the tomato came from the New World. Marimar Torres, author of The Catalan Country Kitchen, claims that ratatouille has a connection with samfaina, a kind of fried vegetable ragoût, of Catalonia dating back to when Provence was linked politically with Catalonia and Aragon. In any case, throughout the Mediterranean, whenever a regional cuisine attempts to describe its local vegetable ragoût, it invariably is described as a ratatouille. In French military slang rata, shortened from ratatouille, means a rough stew, the way it should be.
There are many ways of cooking a ratatouille, attested to by the fact that there seems not to be a cookbook that doesnt proffer ratatouille or an American food magazine that doesnt present a recipe for it once a month. This recipe is one of the easier ways, but an even better result will occur if you have the time to cook the vegetables separately and then mix them at the end.
|Eggplants||2 1/2 Pound , peeled, cubed (2 Pieces)|
|Extra virgin olive oil||1/2 Cup (8 tbs)|
|Onions||2 Medium , chopped or sliced|
|Ripe firm tomatoes||1 Pound , seeded and quartered (3 Pieces)|
|Zucchini||2 Medium , peeled and thinly sliced|
|Green bell peppers||3 , seeded and cut into thin strips|
|Garlic||1 Clove (5 gm) , crushed|
|Dried herbes de provence||2 Tablespoon , wrapped in cheesecloth|
|Ground black pepper||To Taste|
1. Lay the eggplant cubes on some paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Leave them to drain of their bitter juices for 30 minutes then pat dry with paper towels.
2. In a large skillet or flameproof casserole, heat the olive oil over medium heat, then cook the onions until translucent, about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, and garlic and shake or stir gently. Add the herbes de Provence, season with salt and pepper, and stir to mix. Cover and simmer over a medium-low heat until much of the liquid is evaporated and the vegetables tender, about 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Strain away any remaining liquid and serve at room temperature with bread.
Variation: In step 2, cook each vegetable one after the other, adding more olive oil when required, and mix all the vegetables once they are cooked.
Image and Recipe © Clifford A. Wright
This recipe is excerpted from the book A Mediterranean Feast by Clifford A. Wright.For more information or to purchase the book, please visit CliffordAWright.Com.
Calories 302Calories from Fat 178
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 19 g29.2%
Saturated Fat 1 g5%
Trans Fat 0 g
Sodium 129 mg5.38%
Total Carbohydrates 30 g10%
Dietary Fiber 10 g40%
Sugars 12 g
Protein 5 g10%
Vitamin A % Vitamin C %
Calcium % Iron %
Calories 1812Calories from Fat 1068
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 114 g175.2%
Saturated Fat 6 g30%
Trans Fat 0 g
Sodium 774 mg32.28%
Total Carbohydrates 180 g60%
Dietary Fiber 60 g240%
Sugars 72 g
Protein 30 g60%
Vitamin A 0% Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 0% Iron 0%
*Based on a 2000 Calorie diet