Ratatouille Niçoise : Nice-Style Ratatouille : LCB at Home : Lesson 44 : Part 0

Why "Part Zero" in the title? Because I jumped forward a whole lot of pages in the book to pick up an unscheduled recipe. Needed a vegetarian alternative with the veal shanks last week and selected ratatouille as being popular, simple, and I could compare the French version of it to my regular Spanish variant.

It didn't work out as planned; less French, more Spanish and rather smooshy in the eggplant and zucchini category - because I messed up on one step of the recipe. Reports were that it did taste good even though it looked not wildly appealing . . . like this:

Ratatouille 012

We learn from our mistrakes. What I actually did was...

Ratatouille Niçoise : Nice-Style Ratatouille

Serves: 7
  • 1/4 C olive oil
  • 500 gr eggplant [1#]
  • 500 gr zucchini [1#]
  • 1/2 C olive oil
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 2 large onions, julienne [sliced]
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 t dried thyme (made from last week's fresh thyme)
  • 2 t dried basil
  • 500 gr tomatoes, peeled, seeded, diced
  • 2 t dried rosemary leaves
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • salt
  • pepper
  1. Cut eggplant and zucchini into 4cm x½cm bâtonettes [1½ " x ¼" sticks]
  2. De-seed & cut pepper into similarly sized strips
  3. 1/4 C oil into a pot & sauté eggplant and zucchini, remove from pan (this is where I messed up - see notes)
  4. 1/2 C of oil into the pan
  5. add onions & peppers
    • cook until soft (not colored)
  6. Add back the eggplant/zuch mix
  7. Add the garlic, herbs, tomatoes and the rest of the stuff - salt and pepper to taste
  8. Simmer, don't stir, for 20 minutes
  9. Taste, re-season (probably add a little salt)
  1. The error: the "sauté" step. I put the eggplant and zucchini into the pot and there was barely room for it all. So I added more oil (in the Spanish fashion) to coat it all and basically stewed the stuff in its own juices (and a bunch of oil). The correct thing to do would have been... use a really big frying pan and, with just a touch of oil, do a proper sauté in several (many) small batches of the zucchini and eggplant; browning each one golden and retaining their shape/firmness. Then the whole dish would have very looked nice after the step where you cook everything for 20 minutes without stirring - right?
    • There's also the possibility that I misread the weights of the veggies and had 1 Kilo instead of 1 Pound of vegs. This country (Canada) randomly mixes metric and imperial measures of weights.

More or less from Le Cordon Bleu: At Home page 247 or thereabouts

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