ratatouille like a french maman

August 7, 2012 § 2 Comments

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ratatouille is more than just a movie? who knew?!? it’s a quintessential french veggie dish. apparently there is a bit of a debate about what authentic ratatouille and how it should be cooked. i have eaten ratatouille in american restaurants and eaten my version. my mother-in-law’s version is hands down, the best i’ve ever had. while i am no expert in the filed of french cuisine, i am an expert in eating. i do it about 20 times a day. (don’t you?) i’m pretty well versed in what i like and what i don’t like. and i like this dish a lot. sometimes i find myself struggling to eat an appropriate amount of vegetables. ratatoullie tastes so good and eases my guilt about eating 20 times a day. although i have been making ratatoullie for the past 7 years, i never could make it as good as my mother-in-laws (i’m assuming everyone who is reading knows me personally and that my husband is from france). lucky for you my mother-in-law is visiting (we have this guy to thank for that) and she made some ratatouille. this time, i paid attention, i watched her every move and asked her a million questions. so keep reading if you want to know the secrets of making delicious authentic ratatouille.

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ratatouille is so versatile, you can eat it hot with some crusty bread. you can eat it cold, you can put it in an omelet with some goat cheese. or if you’re feeling really crazy, throw fried egg on it. really, it’s a keeper! i normally encourage you to go off the recipe and wing it a bit. i would caution that the first time you follow the recipe to taste it’s awesomeness and then tweak it the next go round to satisfy your personal preferences.

so here are the secrets, PEEL everything, don’t add zucchini and simmer until the liquid is reduced so the consistency is like that of a thick stew. the result is magical. really. so. good.

ratatoullie

recipe courtesy of my wonderful mother-in-law, martine sorel.

olive oil

2 onions, sliced

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp salt (more to taste)

5 plum tomatoes, peeled

1 eggplant, peeled and diced

2 red peppers, peeled and diced

1 tbsp tomato paste (stir in a little bit of water)

1/2 tsp thyme

1 bay leaf

saute onions in olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. cook the onions until they are wilted and lightly caramelized. add the rest of the vegetables to the pan. then add the tomato paste mixed in water, the bay leaf, thyme and a pinch of salt. bring to a boil and put the cover on your pan (i use a dinner plate if the pan doesn’t have a cover). you want to leave it covered until all the liquid has come out of the vegetables. about 20 minutes. at this time you’re stirring a bit, keeping an eye on things making sure nothing burns. if you find that your veggies are sticking, turn the heat down a little. once all the water is out of the vegetables, turn down the heat to medium low and let the liquid evaporate. you want the the ratatouille to be reduced to a thick stew consistency. add more salt to taste (if needed). we usually eat it with rice and if i’m really hungry i’ll add a fried egg and goat cheese. yum! enjoy.

*my apologies on the crap photos. this wasn’t a planned post. after i took my first bite i realized that i would be cruel to withhold this information from you.

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