Today my kitchen was bursting with the fragrance of fresh vegetables, garlic, thyme
and the best olive oil. Sizzling in two baking dishes in the oven, and bubbling
from a skillet on the burner, music was created! Who knew a plump eggplant,
two zucchini, two onions, and an orange and yellow pepper could taste so good
when blanketed with your own homemade thick tomato sauce, it's so easy.
If you've spent time in the South of France, especially in picturesque Provençe,
surrounded by lavender and sunflower fields, when dining in either a restaurant
or a French home, you most likely have been served ratatouille.
Also known as ratatouille niçoise, this colorful unctuous vegetable
stew which originated in the city of Nice, is a French classic and so easy to
make at home.
Purists may still choose the traditional French way of preparation where each
vegetable is cooked separately atop the stove, a longer more messy process,
then combined and cooked together slowly until they reach a creamy consistency.
I used to make mine that way. The new way is much easier and to me tastes even
more fantastic. . . . . .actually this version we will have for supper tonight is really
the best I've ever tasted, honestly!
The word ratatouille derives from the Occitan ratatolha and is related to the French
ratatouiller and tatouiller, expressive forms of the verb touiller meaning 'to stir up'.
From the late 18th century, in French, it indicated a coarse stew, and the actual
ratatouille recipe didn't appear in print until around 1930.
Always serve ratatouille warm or at room temperature.
If you have refrigerated leftovers remove from the fridge allowing at least
half an hour prior to serving.
There are dozens of recipes available online for ratatouille or, if you have a
collection of French or vegetable cookbooks, you are certain to find
one to try. I used the simplified recipe from my awesome British cookbook
VEG by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall of River Cottage in Dorset, not far from
my English home. It was a gift from my granddaughter Jasmin who always
knows what I love, or will grow to love. . . . and I'm definitely loving
Off now to eat and enjoy.