By Foodie in Provence
“I can hardly imagine Provençal summer without ratatouille. Not the movie, of course, although we could consider it as ‘how to’. The dish is an ode to summer vegetables and in fact, cannot be cooked outside of the summer season. The word “ratatouille” comes from the Occitan ratatolha and is related to the French ratouiller and tatouiller, expressive forms of the verb touiller, meaning “to stir up”. Originally, the word “ratatouille” means stew of cooked vegetables, especially eggplant, onions, zucchini, peppers and tomatoes, and garlic. There is no ‘real’ recipe for ratatouille and you can change the basic recipe to your liking.”
This recipe was submitted for our community from “Foodie in Provence”—aka Hana, www.foodieinprovence.com. Provence is a department in SE France along the Mediterranean Sea and into the southern French Alpes. As the author of this lovely recipe suggests, take advantage of these summer vegetables when they have their peak flavor. I personally would skip serving this with bread, but included this suggestion as written. The original recipe did not include a quantity for olive oil or herbs, nor salt and pepper; I added some amounts of each as a basic reference but feel free to use more or less to taste. As most of the nutrients in tomatoes are in the skin and seeds, I would chop the tomatoes and use the whole tomato, but in the true French tradition, you will see that the author prefers them without.
Hope you enjoy this delicious recipe! I am sending it to you from the island of Ibiza in Spain. Over this summer, Nicole and I have made a variation of ratatouille several times per month as the markets in the Mediterranean region are packed with these summer vegetables and this is one of our favorite dishes.
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2 cloves garlic
1 red pepper
1 green pepper (optional)
2 medium tomatoes or 1 cup chopped tomatoes
2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼ to ½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons dried or 2 tablespoons fresh mixture of Provencal herbs: oregano, thyme, tarragon, and rosemary. Plus 1 tablespoon fresh basil
Wash vegetables and herbs.
Dice onion, chop garlic. Chop remaining vegetables and herbs.
Preheat your pan to medium heat, pour in olive oil and sauté onion for a few minutes.
Add diced eggplant, cook for a couple of minutes, then add garlic, zucchini, and peppers.
Meanwhile, prepare your tomatoes: pour boiling water over the tomatoes and let stand for 5 minutes. Peel the skin and dice the pulp. Discard the seeds. Add to the stew.
Add all herbs except basil.
Let cook until the vegetables are slightly cooked, but don’t overcook otherwise they’ll become mushy.
Let stand for a few minutes, add basil. Serve immediately with sourdough bread, as a side dish or with gluten-free pasta.
Bon Appetit and wishing you the best of health!
Steven Masley, MD
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