Ratatouille is a French Provincial dish from around Nice that dates back at least to the 18th century. In late summer, when farmers had a glut of vegetables, they would make ratatouille to preserve in glass jars to see them through the winter . Traditionally they would use aubergines, peperoni, zucchini, onions and tomatoes. The name itself comes from the French ‘ratouiller’, to stir or mix.
I absolutely love this dish and at the moment I have all the vegetables I need in my garden.In the best ratatouille you can experience the various tastes and textures of the individual vegetables rather than have them all blended together. To achieve this you need to cook all the vegetables separately and only combine them at the very end.
Please do not despair, this is really not more work, just doing things differently.
• for 4-6 people pre heat the oven to 200 ˚
• 2 medium aubergines skinned like a zebra and cut into 2-3 cm squares
• 2 red and 1 yellow peperone cored and cut into 3 cm squares
• 2-3 medium zucchini cut into 2 cm squares
• 10 small tomatoes cut into quarters
• 1 large Spanish onion thinly sliced
• 4 sprigs each of fresh oregano and thyme
• 2 fresh bay leaves
• 10 anchovies in oil
• salt and pepper to taste
• cover 3 oven trays with baking paper
• put the aubergines, peperoni and tomatoes, seperate on the oven trays
• bake in the oven for about 30 minutes or until lightly coloured
• in a large fry pan melt a little olive oil and fry the onions until translucent
• add the anchovies and let them melt
• now cook the zucchini, stirring from time to time until they colour
• stir in the fresh herbes
• once the other vegetables are done add them to the pan and mix well
• gently cook them for about 20 minutes, taste for salt and pepper
The result of cooking ratatouille this way is the vegetables retain their brilliant colour and individual taste. It is also fresher and lighter, a perfect summer dish to be eaten warm or cold.