- The New Rule of Ratatouille: Forget the Rules | Serious Eats:
Ratatouille typically includes a mix of eggplant, summer squash (i.e., zucchini, yellow squash, and other soft-skin types), onion, garlic, bell peppers, and tomatoes stewed in olive oil. Herbs vary, and some folks hold very strong opinions about which ones they should and should not be, but among the most ubiquitous are basil, parsley, and thyme.
- Cutting the Vegetables: Anywhere from 0.5cm to 1cm pieces is a good size.
- Pre-Salting: The salted eggplant and squash produced ratatouille with more depth and sweetness.
You can dice the eggplant and squash, then salt them and let them sit while you continue dicing the other vegetables.
- Single-Pot Versus Individually Cooked Vegetables: you do preserve the shape and flavor of each vegetable a little better by cooking them separately...but not absolutely essential - starting with the onion and garlic, then adding the bell peppers soon after, followed by the squash and eggplant, and finally the tomato.
- Fresh Diced Tomato Versus Tomato Purée: the diced fresh tomato maintained its shape to the end, while the puréed tomatoes acted as a sauce, coating everything in a red sheen and helping to bind it all together.
As you can imagine, the tomato flavor is more pervasive when added as purée, since it glazes every other vegetable in the dish.
I prefer the purée.
Canned whole tomatoes often provide some of the best quality you can get, but feel free to use a puree made from cooked fresh ones if they're good enough.
Ratatouille: Step by Step:
I start by salting the eggplant and squash and letting them stand in a strainer set over a bowl for between 15 and 30 minutes.
Whether doing the individually cooked or the one-pot approach, I then sweat onion and garlic in olive oil.
For the one-pot approach, the next step is to combine everything else in the pot and let it cook until done.
Once everything is in the pot, I set it over low heat and add the tomato.
I also add herbs at this point; here, it's a bundle of basil, parsley, and thyme.
Herb garnishes are up to you, too. In these photos, I've stirred in some chopped parsley, but you could use basil, another herb, or just leave it out altogether.
I'll often also stir in a bit more fresh olive oil for flavor at the end.
As good as ratatouille is hot, it's so, so much better when eaten slightly chilled or at room temperature the next day.
Provençal Ratatouille Recipe:
3 cups 0.6cm diced summer squash, such as zucchini and yellow squash (about 4 small or 2 medium squash)
3 cups 0.6cm diced Italian eggplant (about 1 medium eggplant)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup (12 tablespoons) extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more as needed
3 cups 0.6cm diced yellow onion (about 3 medium onions)
6 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
3 cups 0.6cm diced red and yellow bell pepper (about 4 large peppers)
2 cups pureed canned whole tomatoes, with their juices, from 1 (800g) can
1 bouquet garni (herb bundle), made from fresh herbs such as thyme, parsley, and basil, tied together with butcher's twine
Chopped fresh parsley leaves and tender stems, for garnish (optional)
1. Place summer squash in a wire mesh strainer set over a bowl; place eggplant in a second wire mesh strainer and set over a second bowl.
Toss both with a liberal amount of kosher salt and let stand to drain at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour.
Discard any liquid that collects in the bowls.
2. In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering.
Add onion and garlic, season with salt, and cook, stirring, until softened, about 6 minutes.
Scrape onion and garlic onto a rimmed baking sheet and spread in an even layer to cool for 3 minutes.
Transfer onion and garlic to a large pot.
3. Meanwhile, add 3 more tablespoons olive oil to skillet and heat over medium-high heat until shimmering.
Add bell pepper, season with salt, and cook, stirring, until softened, about 7 minutes.
Scrape bell pepper onto the rimmed baking sheet in an even layer to cool for 3 minutes.
Transfer bell pepper to pot with onion.
4. Add 3 more tablespoons olive oil to skillet and heat over medium-high heat until shimmering.
Add summer squash and cook, stirring, until softened, about 4 minutes.
Scrape onto rimmed baking sheet in an even layer to cool for 3 minutes.
Transfer to pot with onion and bell pepper.
5. Add remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil to skillet and heat over medium-high heat until shimmering.
Add eggplant and cook, stirring, until softened, about 4 minutes; add more olive oil as needed if skillet dries out while cooking eggplant.
Scrape eggplant into pot with other vegetables and stir to combine.
6. Set pot of vegetables over medium-high heat and stir in tomato puree and herb bundle; heat until ratatouille is gently bubbling, then lower heat to medium and cook, stirring, until tomato puree coats vegetables in a thick sauce, about 15 minutes.
Discard herb bundle.
Season with salt, stir in chopped parsley (if using), and drizzle with a small amount of fresh extra-virgin olive oil.
Serve right away, or chill and serve either reheated, slightly chilled, or at room temperature.
'via Blog this'