Whether you’re cooking in France or in North America, ratatouille will never taste better than right now—when all the right veggies are at their freshest, in-season best.
PS: I’ve spent major chunks of my late summers perfecting ratatouille, and I’ve decided it all boils down to these three tips:
1. Use in-season, fresh, local veggies: My heart always sinks a little bit when my Google Analytics tells me that people have been spending time on my ratatouille recipe in winter. (I just hope those folks are from the Southern Hemisphere!). Honestly, don’t even bother to make ratatouille if you can’t find great in-season veggies.
2. Use a fabulous olive oil: So much of the flavor of ratatouille comes from a great olive oil. When I’m in Nice, I pick up Nicolas Alziari olive oil, but once home, I head to a trusted olive oil purveyor. (If there’s a Vom Fass in your neck of the woods, try the Agora olive oil—it’s great for this application).
3. Give It a Rest: After you’ve made the ratatouille, refrigerate it for a day. Those flavors will really take off after some time together. The next day, bring it to room temperature to serve. (If you’ve forgotten to do so, and it’s almost time to eat, reheat the ratatouille gently and let it cool back to room temperature).
And now, for my recipe:
Ratatouille à la Bonne Femme
From The Bonne Femme Cookbook: Simple, Splendid Food That French Women Cook Every Day.
6 tablespoons the best extra-virgin olive oil you can find
2 medium-size onions, thinly sliced
2 red bell peppers, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks
4 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
5 medium-size tomatoes (about 1 pound), cored, seeded, and chopped
1 teaspoon dried herbes de Provence, crushed
1 medium eggplant (about 1 pound), cut into1-inch cubes
1 medium-size zucchini, cut into 2.5 x 1/2-inch strips
1. In a 3 1/2-quart or 5 -quart braising pan or deep-sided skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and starting to turn golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Add the bell peppers, garlic, and salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the peppers soften a bit, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and herbes de Provence. Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a boil; return the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes more.
2. Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the eggplant and cook, stirring, for 4 minutes. Add the zucchini and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant and zucchini are crisp-tender, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Add the eggplant and zucchini to the tomato mixture in the braiser and simmer gently until the liquid is reduced to a tablespoon or two, 5 to 10 minutes. Check the seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if needed.
4. Serve warm or at room temperature. Or, chill overnight and bring to room temperature to serve. Serves 6.
Photo of ratatouille ingredients by Manjada_org via flickr.
See you next month—and until then, follow me on my facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/chezbonnefemme.
Also check out my book, The Bonne Femme Cookbook: Simple, Splendid Food That French Women Cook Every Day.
My Paris Apartment for Rent
I am renting my fabulous Paris apartment in the heart of the Marais near St. Paul metro, from November 30 to December 16, a total of 17 nights. It's a spacious one-bedroom 750 sq. ft. loft style apartment with 12 ft. ceilings, decorated in chic Mid-Century Modern furniture and sleeps two people in a Queen size bed. Amenities include washer/dryer, 16" flat screen TV, dishwasher, internet connection/Wifi and free long distance calls to the U.S. The apartment is located on the second floor with a large elevator.
The price is 2800 euros/165 per night for 17 nights, 1500 euros for 7 nights, and anything in between 7 & 15 nights, 175 euros per night. Minimum rental 7 nights or 1500 euros. Photos upon request.
Please email me at email@example.com if you are interested.
New! Eye Prefer Paris Cooking Classes
I am happy to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Cooking Classes. Come take an ethnic culinary journey with me and chef and caterer Charlotte Puckette, co-author of the bestseller The Ethnic Paris Cookbook (with Olivia Kiang-Snaije). First we will shop at a Paris green-market for the freshest ingredients and then return to Charlotte's professional kitchen near the Eiffel Tower to cook a three-course lunch. After, we will indulge in the delicious feast we prepared along with hand-selected wines.
Cost: 185 euros per person (about $240)
Time: 9:30AM- 2PM (approximately 4 1/2 hours)
Location: We will meet by a metro station close to the market
Class days: Tuesday,Wednesday, Thursday,Friday, Saturday, and Sunday
Minimum of 2 students, maximum 6 students.
Click here to sign up for the next class or for more info.
I am pleased as punch to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Tours, which are 3-hour walking tours I will personally be leading. The Eye Prefer Paris Tour includes many of the places I have written about such as small museums & galleries, restaurants, cafes & food markets, secret addresses, fashion & home boutiques, parks, and much more.
Tours cost 210 euros for up to 3 people, and 70 euros for each additional person. I look forward to meeting you on my tours and it will be my pleasure and delight to show you my insiders Paris.
Check it out at www.eyepreferparistours.com
Click here to watch a video of our famous Marais tour