Eggplant, zucchini, onions, garlic, peppers and mushrooms. Mushrooms are not really in ratatouille but that’s tough, this is my recipe. The thing about most ratatouille is that it’s just a sloppy mess. Dump everything in a pot cook it till it’s cooked and call it ratatouille. But then the eggplant and zucchini are mush and it just tastes like the mess it is. The trick here is to cook everything individually so they retain their various shapes.
This is the kitchen of my former apartment in France. There were 2 hot plates essentially. I didn’t cook there all that much but if I can make ratatouille there, I could make anything. I made BBQ beef once on a cocked up grill using sticks to make the fire. My vegetarian banker ate 2 sandwiches.
I got the skins off the peppers with this ingenious method of putting aluminum foil (tissue alu) right on the burner. It did not smell as good as you might imagine. I got the skins off the tomatoes by dipping them in boiling water which does not smell.
These lovely mushrooms, called chanterelles, aux etats unis, are called girolles in France. And they are luscious. And cheap, in spring, anyway.
As each thing cooks you drain it. I saved the juices in a bowl and added them to the sauce, I am not sure if that’s right but I did it and the French Gourmet Society did not arrive and shoot me.
Caramelizing tomato paste with garlic in olive oil and butter creates kind of a messy looking pan of slop but after it’s absorbed all the juices (and yes Gail, in this case there are “juices”) and oil and gets a dark red you add red wine and it becomes glossy and beautiful.
Then I added this tomato stuff, I have never seen anything like it in the US but it tasted like fresh tomatoes. I drank what I didn’t use for lunch one day. Once that’s simmered for a while I pour it over the vegetables and brought all of that to a light simmer for a few minutes. Then you let it come to room temperature and refrigerate it overnight. I have generally been served ratatouille cold. I don’t like that. And it’s not served with pasta. Ditto on not liking it.
But either way, this is an awesome recipe. I suppose I should mention that I used oregano and thyme liberally.