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Ratatouille--Cook-Off 42


Chris Amirault
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I've made ratatouille twice this summer so far. The first time was for a party over the 4th of July weekend. I wanted to take a side dish that would not have to be served hot or cold but would be tasty at room temperature. It was not as beautiful as the confit byaldi but it sure did taste great. I did not follow one recipe, but sort of combined a couple that I had found on the net. I salted and let sit the large dice of eggplant, zucchini and yellow squash. After rinsing and drying, I sauteed all of the vegies separately (eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, red, yellow and orange peppers). If I remember correctly, I sweated small diced onions and garlic. I did simmer all the ingredients together, adding pureed tomatoes and fresh grape tomatoes, and basil........vinegar at the end. Though there was some jamminess to the base, the zucchini, squash and peppers remained fairly intact with still some bite. At the suggestion of one of Tyler Florence's recipes, I sauteed some garlic, crushed red peppers and toasted pine nuts and mixed that with some crumbled feta to sprinkle on top of each serving. The dish was well received. My brother, who normally does not like eggplant OR zuchini, loved it.

The second time, I was using up some items in the fridge and just winged it. Still tasty.

So what are experiences here with freezing their ratatouille? Would you make it without the basil and freeze or just freeze the finished dish?

Am interested in someday doing the Thomas Keller version but will probably wait until I really need to impress someone!!!!!

Donna

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So what are experiences here with freezing their ratatouille? Would you make it without the basil and freeze or just freeze the finished dish?

I freeze leftover ratatouille all the time. If it's too watery when it defrosts, I just let it drip in the sink through a colander for a few minutes. Good as new.

I freeze it finished, complete with all herbs and seasonings.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

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Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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I don't think that eggplant is a requirement -- at all -- but without it I think of the dish as closer to a piperade. I lean towards jammy myself, heavy on the olive oil. Mushrooms...hmmm. I'm sure they'd taste good but I consider ratatouille a bright tasting summery dish and the mushrooms would add an autumnal note.

The pairing of ratatouille and eggs is one of the fabbest I know, whether as an omelet filling, a base for a poached or fried egg, or a side with scrambled. I use up my "leftover" ratatouille at lunchtime with an egg. Cheap, healthy, delicious.

Another use for "leftover" is to add a can of chickpeas. Heresy, I know, but served hot over rice it's a supremely satisfying vegetarian dinner. And chick peas are Provencal.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

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1912-2008

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I made my take on "Remy's Ratatouille" last night, and it was one of the best things I've ever put in my mouth !

In the bottom of a 9' tart pan, I put a layer of tomato sauce, seasoned, thick.

In a spiral I layer 1/8" eggplant, yellow squash and zucchini. Seasoned with s/p, a little onion and garlic powder, smoked paprika, thyme. Topped with thin sliced tomatoes, drizzled with good olive oil.

Into the oven at 375', uncovered, for 1 hour.

Served with polenta.

Unbelievably simple and fantastic ! (I am not a fan of jammy...........)

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gallery_25849_641_24540.jpggallery_25849_641_25627.jpggallery_25849_641_502.jpg

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Farmer's market yesterday had everything I needed. Scorched and peeled the peppers, skinned and seeded the tomatoes. Combined them with zucchini, yellow zucchini, eggplant, red onion, a few mushrooms, fresh garlic, basil, Italian parsley, oregano, salt, pepper, olive oil and some balsamic. After more than 1 1/2 hours cooking, it was watery so I added half a small can of tomato paste (2-3 oz.).

It was good. . . but not great. I think I may prefer 'jammy'. What do I do to make it jammy?

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I've done this a few times (two to be precise) and thought I'd share it with you.

The basic premise came from Michel Guerard who did a Lamb charlotte in his Cuisine Gourmande cookbook (a blast from the past). Anyway, I do the basic recipe in individual ramekin dishes, which is rather appealing aesthetically.

So, an eggplant shell became the outside for individual ratatouille.

Here is the finished product

15.jpg

16.jpg

And this is how we get there.

First peel the eggplant and slice very thinly using a mandoline:

1.jpg

Next, fry the eggplant in olive oil:

2.jpg

You will smell when it is ready for turning.

Next drain the fried eggplant slices on kitchen paper. Then start lining the ramekin:

3.jpg

Continue with the remainder of the fried slices:

4.jpg

I always do one or two more than are necessary to cut off bits to cover

holes.

Next fry in olive oil the individual components (eggplant at top, sliced zucchini next clockwise, sliced tomato next then diced onion. Note, you could use baked half cherry tomatoes but given it is winter here, the quality today was not good.

6.jpg

The start layering the elements of the dish:

7.jpg

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Then fold the eggplant slices over the contents:

12.jpg

Next put in a bain marie:

13.jpg

Cook at 180 degrees Celsius, or 350 degrees farenheit for around 40 minutes

(check to see if it looks cooked [see below])

14.jpg

Take out of the pan, dry it off, put the plate on top of it and invert (tap

the top a few times).

The product is:

15.jpg

Voila.

ps. I seasoned the contents during cooking. Yes, you can add garlic (oops, I omitted it tonight).

Basil leaves would be nice between the layers.

Enjoy :)

Edited by nickrey (log)
  • Like 2

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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Wow! Those individual ratatouilles are beautiful!

This wan never a dish I was fond of growing up - too heavy on onions, which I love now, but they have to be cooked soft & sweet.

I made the Byaldi from "The French Laundry" last night. I have been catching up on "The French Laundry At Home" so I got the book from the library and I am determined to try a few things before ihave to take it back. This seemed like the perfect place to start.

It was easy to do, and the result was fab-u-lous. If I hadn't already eatern a big dinner before it was done cooking, I would have sat down and eaten the whole plate! I'm having some mixed with pasta for lunch today. Alas, no pictures though.

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nickrey, that looks so pretty.

Here's my effort, from last Thursday:

gallery_43248_6179_88294.jpg

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I used this recipe from Fine Cooking, and I loved it. You can see in the first picture that I didn't bother peeling the tomatoes, or the eggplant. They were both so fresh that I didn't think it was necessary. I really like the method of reducing the juices and adding a squeeze of lemon juice with the herbs. When I do it again, I'll add more onion, as they were my favorite.

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What beautiful photos. They all look delicious. I am afraid I won't have a kitchen before eggplant season ends, and I'll have to wait until next summer to make ratatuoille.

Maggie, I also love ratatouille with eggs, in a frittata especially. And the chickpea addition doesn't sound weird at all, in fact it sounds very tasty. Other favorite uses for extra ratatouille are as a topping for pizza or, chopped extra finely with plenty of fresh basil and capers, with crackers or crostini as an appetizer.

Edited by LindaK (log)


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It's always better the second night. In fact, it gets better for several days.

I've been eating mine over the grains and on crackers all week. I think I'll make a ratatouille omelet before the week is out.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've been making a grilled ratatouille of sorts this summer, and I finally remembered to take pictures as I was doing so.

It deviates from the standard recipe in that I don't use bell peppers. I like them, they don't like me. 'Nuff said.

So I start with a big bowl of cubed zucchini (2), yellow squash(2), and eggplant(1), and another of cherry tomatoes (lots) (could use large tomatoes cut into larger pieces, but I have an inordinate amount of cherry tomatoes, my plants are being most prolific this year):

gallery_15557_1141_4214.jpg

I toss them with a little olive oil, enough to coat, not enough to soak the eggplant, and skewer them with some red onion:

gallery_15557_1141_17388.jpg

Then off to the grill. I use a very hot grill because the vegetables don't take long to cook and I want some nice dark spots of caramelization for flavor on them. I grill them about 2.5 - 3 minutes a side. I skewer the vegetables flat so they don't rotate all over the grill.

gallery_15557_1141_1582.jpg

You might ask why I am only grilling 4 skewers of vegetables when I obviously have a nice huge grill there. The answer is simple: I have only 4 skewers. I've been meaning to buy more, but I've never gotten around to it. I used to have some nice ones with wooden handles until the grill set the handles on fire. The bowl of vegetables filled 14 skewers.

When they're done, they look more or less like this:

gallery_15557_1141_10742.jpg

The tomatoes are grilled separately because they take a lot less time, 1-2 minutes max per side, just enough to heat through and char some:

gallery_15557_1141_17992.jpg

For the 14 skewers of vegetables, I had about 5 skewers of tomatoes. About a 3:1 ratio works pretty well, but as this is a stew, it's flexible.

Meanwhile, I heated some minced garlic in a little olive oil (2 tbsp?) until the garlic was fragrant and starting to brown:

gallery_15557_1141_25824.jpg

Then lightly mash the charred tomatoes and mix with the garlic and olive oil. salt, pepper, and basil (usually a proper chiffonade, but I was getting hungry so it ended up being a rough chop):

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Mix it all together and eat right away or let it sit to develop.

gallery_15557_1141_41507.jpg

Here it is as served with some grilled chicken. It was still a little juicy, but the chicken mopped up those juices very nicely.

gallery_15557_1141_24583.jpg

Marcia.

Edited by purplewiz (log)

Don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he wanted...he lived happily ever after. -- Willy Wonka

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Marcia, that looks like a really nice light summery version. Do the flavours 'meld' as it sits?

I like the idea of grilling or smoking (lightly) the vegetables. The vegetables used would all seem to benefit from some of that charred flavour.

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Marcia, that looks like a really nice light summery version.  Do the flavours 'meld' as it sits?

I like the idea of grilling or smoking (lightly) the vegetables.  The vegetables used would all seem to benefit from some of that charred flavour.

Oh, yes, it's almost like a different dish after sitting overnight. I like it both ways - and you're right, the grilling gives the vegetables a lovely charred flavor. I don't have a smoker, but it sounds like a great variation to try!

Marcia.

Don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he wanted...he lived happily ever after. -- Willy Wonka

eGullet foodblog

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  • 4 years later...

I love that it's never too late to enter a cookoff. I'd like to submit my version, which is closer to a Basque version of the dish than the Provençal one - the recipe comes from a little farmhouse Mom stayed at while biking through the Pyrenees in the 70's; she's unsure whether she was in France or Spain at that point. It is aberrant from the other ratatouille in this thread in that it contains meat - in this case, ground beef, and a bit of cheese as well.

My stepdad, who trained at Cordon Bleu, calls this dish Rat Patootie. When I first served it to my friend Alain, who is from Provençe, he slapped me. Both happily take seconds when offered. If y'all think this isn't ratatouille, please accept my apologies, and tell me what it is.

Construction of the dish. The casserole is liberally olive oiled, then layered with tomatoes, spices, eggplant, zucchini, meat (fried with copious amounts of garlic and red onion, as well as peppers and mushrooms in this case) and queso fresco. I'd normally prefer a fresh goatsmilk cheese like chanvre here, but I was late to the market and the goatman was gone. Then continue layering with veggies until the casserole is full, and top with a bit more cheese. Ideally, the top and bottom layers are tomato.

Ratatouille2.jpg

Comes out looking like this.

Ratatouille1.jpg

Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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  • 1 year later...
  • 1 month later...

Me again :biggrin:

 

Started back at work this week after half a year off. Totally overwhelmed with a big crisis immediately. I wanted to take a break and cook something nice but didn't really have time, so I did a rush job and wasn't very satisfied.

 

I just threw all the veggies together in the pan and they went quite soggy and tough, not luscious and melting like when you cook them each carefully on their own.

 

So don't do like me.

011 (640x480).jpg

 

Served with brown rice and roasted chickpeas. Still tasty. I ate it.

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Thanks for bringing this topic up again. I will definitely try the individual ratatouilles from upthread, and dig out the cartoon for the children's movie night this weekend.

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  • 4 years later...

I just did my very first ratatouille, and am a bit baffled... Admiteddly, it's delicious, and I almost got it to taste as I imagined it would, but my cooking times were incomparable to what I anticipated. But to get the conversation started, here's the recipe I used for my basis*:

 

30dag aubergines

30dag courgette (I've reduced it to a single smallish courgette)

30dag green peppers (substituted with 20dag green paeppers, and 20dag red peppers)

30 dag tomatoes (substitutted with a can of San Marzano with juice, and about half a cup of tomato puree**)

2 large onions (substituted with 4 medium ones, and 1 small)

2 garlic cloves (substituded with 4)

2 tbsp sweet paprika

1tbsp Herbes de Provence (I had none, so I omitted it)

¼tbsp Cayenne pepper (or hot paprika)

salt & pepper to taste

2 tbsp Vegeta (or vegetable stock cube)

1 tablespoon finely chopped basil

2 Tsp dill (had none, so I omitted it)

 

One sautees finely diced onions until starting to turn golden (and adds finely chopped garlic 5 mins before that). Add the rest of vegetables and spices (hold the dill and half of the basil for adding when cooked). Sautee until tender and add the tomatoes. Simmer for another 20-ish minutes before checking for seasoning and adding the rest of herbs (hald the basil and dill).

 

What stupefied me is that (and I went with moister version- with enough sauce to keep the dish abou stew consistency- gooey, but not runny) and veggies (zucchinis being the main culprit) losing most of the bite was about 2¼ hours on the stove (as opposed to about an hour that the recipe would seem to indicate), before it started to appproach what I'd call perfect 'bite). Admittedly, I did not add all the vegetables in one go as recipe suggested- first I added pepppers some 15-20 mins before aubergines and courgettes (I like my peppers quite soft and having no 'bite' after stewing), but still... I simmered veggies in tomato sauce for over an hour. (I'd post a picture, and I have a few- but the colour balance on my phone's camera seems terribly wrong when taking food pictures, so it'd look much more unappealing than in real life)

 

* it's from an quaint and endearing blog of a connoiseur who enjoyed his food and spared no expense in procuring the recipes he liked... He self-published his cookbook in staggering 20 copies, and allowed his friend to post them online before he passed away few years ago.

** I added it while simmeing, and once I decided the dish had enough tomaoes, I added warm water, lest the tomatoes overwhelm the dish

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A cigarette is the perfect type of a perfect pleasure. It is exquisite, and it leaves one unsatisfied. What more can one want?  - Oscar Wilde

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Gosh the time sounds really long and the dill!?  Also I think traditionally the vegetables are separately sauteed and then combined. I do my own mashed up version with the veg on  the baking sheet to roast a bit and then bringing them together. Untraditionally a few tasty olives are nice ;)

Edited by heidih (log)
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Thanks for the reply Heidih... I'm a big fan of comfort food, so I tried to make it like a hearthy eggplant stew of sorts and did my best to have enough sauce for subsequent reheatings (one can always reduce it when reheating, if desired). I let it get a good rest overnigt (unlike me, who turned and tossed all night long- apparenty, I've come down with a cold) and discovered my phone's camera has "Good food" filter- so I tested it.

IMG_20180929_104928.jpg

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A cigarette is the perfect type of a perfect pleasure. It is exquisite, and it leaves one unsatisfied. What more can one want?  - Oscar Wilde

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I think it looks delicious, @Wolf. What do you think, now that it's had a rest? Will you do it again?

 

Thanks for reviving this topic. 

  • Like 1

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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Thanks, Smithy. :)

 

Yep,of course I will; but next time I think I'll toss zucchini a bit on the grill before adding them. I think browned lines will make it look even better and should soften them a bit. :D

A cigarette is the perfect type of a perfect pleasure. It is exquisite, and it leaves one unsatisfied. What more can one want?  - Oscar Wilde

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I like my ratatouille to have a little "bite" left in the squash, but everything else I want soft, so I saute my onions, peppers, garlic and then eggplants and any other hard veggies I'm using for a while before adding my squash (both zucchini and yellow). Once I get a little color on it, I turn down the heat and add the tomatoes and simmer for maybe 40 minutes.

 

I like mine over brown rice.

 

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Don't ask. Eat it.

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