No, this isn’t a behind the scenes account of the beloved Pixar flick (my favorite of the lot really) but a step by step guide to making the Provençal favorite from the goodies I purchased at the Marché Raspail.
I was looking for Ina Garten’s Ratatouille recipe, because everything she does is “so good” but stumbled upon this one instead at LemonTart.com, which insisted there is only one right way to cook the dish, by preparing each ingredient separately and adding them together at the end. Aiming for perfection, I decided to give it a go.
Step One – Salt and drain the zucchini and eggplant.
This will draw moisture out so that they will get a nice brown crust on them when you sautee. Not salting and draining will produce soggy results.
Step Two – Pour yourself a glass of wine! This should really be Step One, but I tend to be forgetful!
Step Three – Score and pour boiling water over your tomatoes.
This will make peeling your tomatoes super easy. Be sure to plunge them in cold water, or run them under the tap, to cool them a bit before you do so.
Step Four – Seed and squeeze the juice from your tomatoes and reserve.
Warning: this is not for the squeamish! 😉
Step Five – Chop tomatoes, red and yellow bell pepper, onions and garlic.
Your mise en place is now fully prepped!
Step Six – First brown zucchini then eggplant over medium high heat, a couple minutes per side.
Step Seven – Add zucchini and eggplant to your serving dish, then start sauteing the onions in your pan.
Add a little more oil if needed, and also some salt and herbs de provence or a few sprigs of fresh thyme to the onions.
Step Eight – Add the bell peppers to the just translucent onions and raise the heat.
Let these soften a bit, but not too much as they should still retain some crunch and texture. Add garlic at the very end of this process.
Step Nine – Lay chopped tomatoes over onion and pepper mixture, but do not stir.
Let the tomatoes “collapse” into the pan. This will throw off a lot of juice and help the tomatoes keep their brightness and color.
Step Ten – Once the tomatoes have sufficiently “collapsed”, pour mixture into collander over bowl to collect the juices, and add those juices into the hot pan with reserved juices and about 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar.
Boil down until you get a thick glaze of tomato goodness.
Add pepper, onion, tomato mixture and glaze to the serving dish, combine with the zucchini and eggplant, and garnish with chopped parsley and basil. Voila, you have the above assembled dish!
Step Eleven – Enjoy!
Though the final dish usually tastes better after letting it rest in the fridge overnight, allowing the flavors to marry, you can indulge right away. I opted to make a tartine of toasted pain au complet (whole grain country bread), goat cheese and the ratatouille on top. And another glass of wine. Bon appetit!
Marché Raspail is every Sunday 9-2. On Boulevard Raspail between Rue de Cherche-Midi and Rue de Rennes.