So, I’ve renamed my blog! Kitchen3n.com is now your source for traditional Bangladeshi as well as updated American and Mediterranean recipes. Please spread the word!Also, we have a winner for our giveaway! Congratulations to @DistractedDebra on winning the $50 gift card to Sur La Table! Happy shopping!It wasn’t going to be long before I posted something from my copy of Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking (thanks to the hubby for the perfect birthday present!). My first attempts were some of the omelettes, the techniques for which she describes in painstaking detail. I had always heard that eggs were to be cooked low and slow…but she cooks them over very high heat for just a few seconds. And with all kinds of jerking, shaking and flipping action. All of which I failed at, miserably. So, I tried my hand at the ratatouille. Mainly because I had most of the ingredients on hand (a little short on the green pepper so I subbed red pepper). Also, I’d never had ratatouille before and seeing as how I LOVE eggplant, didn’t mind trying it a new way. And yes, that is a ruler you see in the previous picture. She is very specific about cutting the eggplant and zucchini into 3/8 inch slices (if my zucchini looks funny, it’s because TJ’s ran out of regular zucchini and only had baby zucchini left). The total cooking time was 1.5 hrs (active). I’ve never spent that amount of time on a vegetable casserole. But I wanted to do something by the book, and I wanted to make sure I did it just right. I didn’t by the way. In the final cooking, after the vegetables are layered and are set over a low heat to mellow out for ~20 minutes, she says to take care not to scorch the vegetables on the bottom. I scorched the vegetables on the bottom. Like many others, I will probably be making my ratatouille in the oven from here on out. The main flavorings come from the slow stewing with the tomatoes, a little bit of parsley and garlic. I would probably remake in the summer, when the tomatoes are at their ripest and have a lot to offer to the dish.
Not to say that it wasn’t tasty. You can definitely taste all the TLC (tender loving care) that went into its preparation. I would probably add a bit more seasoning next time (increased salt and pepper, perhaps some herbs de provence, more garlic). I’m not sure how it’s traditionally eaten in France, but it was fabulous alongside a piece of baguette and yes, you guessed it, even rice.
From Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking
- 1 lb. eggplant
- 1 lb. zucchini
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 lb thinly sliced yellow onions
- 2 sliced green peppers or 1 red, 1 green pepper
- 2 to 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves mashed garlic
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 lb. firm, ripe, red tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and juiced (you can also use whole, peeled tomatoes in a can, just cut them across and squeeze gently to dispose of seeds and excess juice)
- salt and pepper
- 3 tbsp minced parsley
- salt and pepper to taste
- Peel the eggplant and cut into lengthwise slices 3/8in thick, 3in long, and 1in wide. Prepare the zucchini similarly. Sprinkle the vegetables with salt and arrange on a wire rack over a baking sheet to let the excess moisture out (about 30 minutes).
- Heat up the olive oil in a 10 to 12in skillet over high heat. Fry the zucchini and eggplant, one batch at a time, for about 1 minute on each side until golden brown. Set aside.
- Add more oil to the pan and sauté the peppers and onion until soft (about 10 min). Add the garlic, salt and pepper to taste.
- Slice the tomatoes into 3/8in strips. Place them atop the peppers and onion. Salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook over low heat for about 5 minutes. Then, uncover and baste the vegetables with the juices rendered. I turned off the heat at this point, which is why my ratatouille was saucy, but the original recipe directs to cook until all the liquid has evaporated.
- Layer the casserole in a cast iron or other fire proof casserole dish (2.5 qt): 1/3 tomato/pepper/onion mixture and 1 tbsp parsley, then half the zucchini/eggplant. Followed by another 1/3 tomato mixture and 1 tbsp parsley. Then the rest of the zucchini/eggplant. Finish with the last third of the tomato mixture and last tbsp of minced parsley.
- Cover and cook at low heat for 10 minutes. Uncover and cook for an additional 15 min, basting occasionally with the juices rendered. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.