Ratatouille

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There are any amount of versions of this dish, the variations being mainly in the proportions of each vegetable employed, the vegetables themselves being nearly always the same ones: aubergines, sweet peppers, onions, tomatoes, with courgettes sometimes being added.”
Extract from French Provincial Cooking, Elizabeth David, 1977

Ratatouille

Serves 4
395g (14oz) aubergines, cut into 1cm cubes * salt * 395g (14oz) courgettes, cut into 1cm cubes * 200g (7oz) red peppers, deseeded and cut into 1cm cubes * 4tbsp olive oil * 200g (7oz) onions, diced * 1 bouquet garni (rosemary, thyme, bay leaf) * 4 cloves of garlic, chopped * 455g (1lb) fresh tomatoes, peeled, deseeded and chopped * 395g (14oz) tinned tomatoes, chopped * 220ml (7 floz) water * freshly ground black pepper

Put the cubed aubergines into a sieve. Sprinkle on just enough salt to cover them. Leave over a bowl for 20 minutes to get rid of the bitterness. Then rinse. You won’t need to add more salt to this dish now, unless you want to.

Heat the olive oil in a flameproof casserole dish and put in the onions, bouguet garni and garlic. Sweat for 5 minutes without colouring. Add the aubergines, courgettes and peppers, then increase the heat slightly and cook for 3 minutes. Season with pepper. Add the tomatoes and water, then simmer gently for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Taste to see if the vegetables are cooked through. If needed, add a little water and simmer for a further 5-10 minutes.

To skin tomatoes, simply plunge them whole into boiled water for 10 minutes. Take them out and after they have cooled a little, peel off the skin.

I have collated all my favourite recipes into one book FOOD FOR ALL OCCASIONS.

There are more recipes in the section THE FRENCH COLLECTION, a selection of authentic French recipes.

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