RATATOUILLE

I FIRST LEARNED TO MAKE THIS PROVENÇAL CLASSIC FROM JULIA CHILD WHOSE RECIPE IS A VEGETABLE STEW, COMPOSED OF EGGPLANT, ZUCCHINI, RED PEPPERS, ONIONS, GARLIC, AND TOMATOES, WHICH ARE SALTED, DRIED, BROWNED AND LAYERED IN A CASSEROLE TO BE FINISHED IN THE OVEN. 

THE RESULT IS A DENSE AND FLAVORFUL MELDING OF THOSE CONTRASTING VEGETABLES; THE PERFECT VEGAN REPAST.  YET SOMETHING IS LOST IN THE  FINAL BAKING — THE BRIGHT FLAVORS AND VARYING TEXTURES OF PEPPERS, ONIONS, EGGPLANT, ETC., ETC.  LATELY, I’VE TAKEN TO BROWNING AND SAUTÉING EACH INGREDIENT, THEN COMBINING THEM AT THE LAST MINUTE WITH THE TOMATO AND A SCATTERING OF FRESH HERBS.  THIS IS A DISH WHICH CAN BE SERVED HOT OR AT ROOM TEMPERATURE, THE PERFECT ACCOMPANIMENT TO LEG OF LAMB OR ROAST CHICKEN.  IF YOU HAVE ANY LEFT OVER, TOSS IT WITH PASTA OR TUCK IT IN AN OMELETTE.  NO MATTER HOW YOU MAKE IT, RATATOUILLE IS AS ADAPTABLE AS IT IS DELICIOUS.
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