Now maybe Ratatouille doesn’t need that many exclamation marks, but I was excited to make it and finally find out what it tastes like! After watching (and thoroughly enjoying) the Pixar film, I’ve always been curious what it was like! Well I wasn’t disappointed! All the vegetables melded together into some wonderful flavours. My only issue with this dish was the texture, but to combat some of the “mushiness” I chopped up some more fresh peppers and added it. This gave it another layer of flavour and added that much needed crunch (in my opinion).
Transcribed by An Uneducated Palate
Excerpted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child. Copyright © 1961 by Alfred A. Knopf. Reprinted with permission from the publisher Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.
- 1 lb eggplant
- 1 lb zucchini
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 Tb olive oil
- ½ lb (about 1½ cups) thinly sliced yellow onions
- 2 (about 1 cup) sliced green bell peppers
- 2 to 3 Tb olive oil, if necessary
- 2 cloves mashed garlic
- 1 lb firm, ripe, red tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and juiced (about 1½ cups pulp)
- 3 Tb minced parsley
- salt and pepper to taste
- Peel the eggplant and cut into lengthwise slices 3/8 inch thick, about 3 inches long, and 1 inch wide. Scrub the zucchini, slice off the two ends, and cut the zucchini into slices about the same size as the eggplant slices. Place the vegetables in a bowl and toss with the salt. Let stand for 30 minutes. Drain. Dry each slice in a towel.
- One layer at a time, sauté the eggplant, and then the zucchini in the hot olive oil for about a minute on each side to brown very lightly. Remove to a side dish.
- In the same skillet, cook the onions and peppers slowly in olive oil for about 10 minutes, or until tender but not browned. Stir in the garlic and season to taste.
- Slice the tomato pulp into 3/8 inch strips. Lay them over the onions and peppers. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the skillet and cook over low heat for 5 minutes, or until tomatoes have begun to render their juice. Uncover, baste the tomatoes with the juices, raise heat and boil for several minutes, until juice has almost entirely evaporated.
- Place a third of the tomato mixture in the bottom of a casserole and sprinkle over it 1 tablespoon of parsley. Arrange half of the eggplant and zucchini on top, then half the remaining tomatoes and parsley. Put in the rest of the eggplant and zucchini, and finish with the remaining tomatoes and parsley.
- Cover the casserole and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Uncover, tip casserole and baste with the rendered juices. Correct seasoning, if necessary. Raise heat slightly and cook uncovered for about 15 minutes more, basting several times, until juices have evaporated leaving a spoonful or two of flavoured olive oil. Be careful of your heat; do not let the vegetables scorch in the bottom of the casserole.
- Set aside uncovered. Reheat slowly at serving time, or serve cold.
To peel tomatoes
Use firm, ripe, red tomatoes. Drop the tomatoes one or two at a time in boiling water to cover, and boil for exactly 10 seconds. Remove. Cut out the stem. Peel off the skin starting from the stem hole.
To seed & juice tomatoes
Cut peeled or unpeeled tomatoes in half crosswise, not through the stem. Squeeze each half gently to extract the seeds and juices from the center of the tomato.
Diced, sliced or chopped tomato pulp
Chop, dice, or slice the peeled, seeded, and juiced tomato halves.