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Question about ratatouille


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3 replies to this topic

#1 edsel

edsel
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Posted 13 May 2004 - 09:58 AM

I enjoyed Andy's profile of you in the Dailey Gullet, especially the excerpt from your book.

Your ingredient list for the ratatouille recipe calls for one tablespoon of olive oil. I assume that this is for the onion-garlic mixture, and that an unspecified quantity of oil will be required to fry off the remaining vegetables.

How do you keep the ratatouille from being greasy? In my experience, eggplant (aubergine) absorbs oil like a sponge. Also, the eggplants that are typically available here in the US tend to be a bit pulpy and bitter. Do you ever have to salt the eggplant to extract the excess juices?

Thank you for participating in the Q&A.

#2 Pere Hugo

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Posted 13 May 2004 - 10:10 AM

Just because eggpant absorbs oil doesn't mean that one must saturate it. I have found that just cooking it down, thickens it enough.

By the way, ratatouilli is one of those things that attacts a score of "experts" extolling the "authentic" version. (Something like chili con carne). Just make it that way it tastes best to you. In my mind no concoctions, just bringing out the best of fresh ingredients.

#3 Shaun Hill

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Posted 13 May 2004 - 10:36 AM

The amount of olive oil a ratatouille type concoction will take without looking greasy is entirely dependent on the ratio of oil to non oil liquid - juices from the tomato, stock, wine or whatever - in the pan. What you are seeing when there is a pool of oil rising is an imbalance between these two in the same way as a curdling mayonnaise, either too much oil or too little stock. Whisking in hot water or wine, a tablespoon at a time, will put things right. The same can happen if the ratatouille is kept warm for a long while or reheated as the non oil liquids will gradually evaporate leaving the quantity of oil - which won't evaporate - too large proportionately to cope with

If the amount of oil is more than you want in this sort of dish in any case then this is what to do. Fry the vegetables separately and drain the oil for reuse with the next ingredient. With this system you need to fry the aubergine last as it will absorb the most. Finally fry the onion, garlic and tomato in whatever's left and add the vegetables to the pan.

Best wishes

#4 edsel

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Posted 13 May 2004 - 10:54 AM

Ah, yes, now I see that you mentioned adding a few drops of white wine to adjust the consistency if it appeared too oily. I was thinking in terms of decreasing the oil while your approach is to maintain the proper balance. It makes sense to me now.

Thank you for the elucidation.