Ratatouille

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Preparation info

  • Serves

    8 to 10

    • Difficulty

      Medium

Appears in

A Canon of Vegetables

A Canon of Vegetables

By Raymond Sokolov

Published 2007

  • About

This medley of three Solanaceae (two New World—tomatoes and red peppers—one Old World—eggplant) plus zucchini was historically possible only after 1492, but the mixture has coalesced in the minds of everyone except food-history pedants into an emblematic dish of Provence.

Ingredients

  • 6 large red bell peppers, prepared as in steps 1 and 2
  • 1⅓ cups olive oil
  • pounds onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • pounds zucchini, roughly diced
  • 1 head garlic
  • 2 pounds eggplant, stem removed and roughly diced, with skin left on
  • 2 pounds tomatoes, blanched, skinned, seeded, and cut into large chunks
  • 5 thyme sprigs
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  1. Cut the bell peppers into long thin strips. Set aside with their liquid.
  2. Heat cup of the olive oil in a Dutch oven over very low heat. Stir in the sliced onions, cover, and cook for about a half hour, or until they are completely softened and breaking down. Stir occasionally.
  3. Uncover, raise the heat a bit, and continue cooking until the onions turn a light brown. Stir in the zucchini and the garlic head. Continue cooking and stir occasionally.
  4. Meanwhile, heat the rest of the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Dump in the eggplant and sauté until softened. With a slotted spoon, transfer to the large pot and stir into the zucchini mixture. Continue cooking and stirring the large pot, while you sauté the tomatoes in the oil left in the skillet until they reduce to a thick mass. Scrape them with any remaining liquid into the large pot.
  5. Add the reserved red peppers and their liquid along with the thyme sprigs and salt and pepper to taste. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for another hour, or as long as it takes to boil away most of the liquid.
  6. Fish out the garlic head with a slotted spoon. Mash through the strainer, leaving the skin and stem behind, back into the pot. Stir all the ingredients together and correct the seasoning.
  7. Let the ratatouille cool in a serving dish. Cover and refrigerate for a day or two if you can. The flavor improves. Serve hot or at room temperature.

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