I was discussing ratatouille the other day with a neighbor and she definitely had her ideas about what ratatouille was and wasn’t. Sort of like me with potato salad.
Interested, I betook myself to my French cookbooks and google.fr. My 1914 cookbook didn’t have any recipe for ratatouille, not even piperade which is a basque version of the dish. I did find the recipe in 3 other cookbooks, though none claimed to be original or traditional. Though, with google.fr, I found numerous recipes all claiming to be traditional, but using varying kinds of vegetables and cooking methods. I “clapped out” of there, decided to stop fooling around and asked Mme Parret.
Ratatouille originates in the Provence region of France and traditionally uses eggplant, bell pepper, tomatoes, zucchini, onions and garlic. Provence does make sense; all those Mediterranean vegetables and flavors coming together.
Although it was recommended that I go for smaller pieces of vegetable, I decided on chunks; I wanted the colors to remain bright and to sink my teeth into discernible pieces.
French Traditional Ratatouille
1 large onion, cut into chunks
1 red bell pepper, cut into chunks
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 eggplant, cut into chunks
1 zucchini, cut into chunks
3 tomatoes, cut into chunks
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper
Saute the onions, pepper and garlic in the olive oil until the onion is translucent. Add the eggplant and zucchini, cover and cook on a very low flame for 25 minutes.
Uncover the pot, then add the tomatoes and bay leaf. Cook uncovered for an additional 10-15 minutes.
Grill or saute 4 pork chops seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder and rosemary.
Wine suggestion: Touraine Mesland