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RCP: Ratatouille

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Carl Eppig

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RCP: Ratatouille

by Carl Eppig » Mon Sep 05, 2011 5:28 pm

RATATOUILLE
(from Tracie Smith who runs a CSA in Southwestern New Hamsphire)

2 Small eggplant, peeled and cubed
2 tsp Salt
6 Tbl Olive oil
2 Medium onions, thinly sliced
3 Garlic cloves, minced
2 Red peppers, seeds, stems, and membranes removed, and thinly sliced
4 Medium tomatoes, diced
4 Small zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced into half moons
1 Tbl Chopped fresh basil
2 Tbl Chopped fresh parsley
2 tsp Chopped fresh oregano (or 1 tsp dried)

Optional (to taste):
Additional salt
Pepper mill
Granulated onion
Granulated garlic

In a colander, toss eggplant with two teaspoons of salt. Let it sit in sink for 30 minutes while you prepare other stuff; then rinse and dry thoroughly.

Heat oil in a large frying pan (we use 12” cast iron skillet) over medium-high heat. Add onions, eggplants, garlic, and peppers; cook stirring constantly, until softened, approximately 10 minutes.

Add tomatoes and cook until most of liquid evaporates. Add zucchini and cook until tender, about 10 more minutes. Stir in chopped herbs, and season to taste. It serves 6-8, and we two got one full meal and two sides with the recipe. For additional meals heat it up in microwave.

Everything excepst onions garlic and seasonings came from the garden.
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Mark Lipton

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Re: RCP: Ratatouille

by Mark Lipton » Mon Sep 05, 2011 11:21 pm

Carl,
I must confess to being an apostate when it comes to ratatouille. I find the mushy consistency of the squash and eggplant to be offputting, sad to say. Having said that, I make and love one particular type of ratatouille: grilled ratatouille. We first had it when staying in a gite (French B&B) in Omex in the French Pyrenees and have been making it at home ever since. Here's a generic recipe:

20 cherry tomatoes
2 white onions, peeled and quartered
1 medium eggplant, sliced 1/2" thick
2 medium zucchini (or other summer squash), sliced 1/2" thick
2 bell peppers, seeded and sliced into 1" squares
6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1/2 cup basil leaves, chopped

marinade:
1/2 cup EVOO
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 shallot, minced
1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves

Mix marinade and put into a bowl with onion, eggplant, zucchini and bell pepper slices. Let sit for 2-4 hours in the fridge, then remove vegetables for skewering. Place each type of vegetable (including garlic and tomatoes) on its own skewer and put the skewered vegetables on the grill. Baste the vegetables with the marinade periodically and rotate the skewers until the vegetables have reached the desired degree of doneness. Remove from the skewers, combine in a bowl and toss with the chopped basil. Serve warm.

Mark Lipton
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Peter May

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Re: RCP: Ratatouille

by Peter May » Tue Sep 06, 2011 10:44 am

Carl Eppig wrote:RATATOUILLE
2 Small eggplant, peeled and cubed
.


Peeling removes the beautiful aubergine colour that makes a ratatouille so attractive - red of tomatoes, green of zucchini(courgettes), purple-black of aubergine(eggplant) and yellow of peppers ( use yellow or orange peppers instead of red for their colour)
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Jenise

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Re: RCP: Ratatouille

by Jenise » Tue Sep 06, 2011 11:41 am

And then there's MFK Fisher's ratatouille, circa 1930:

"I learned to make ratatouille from a large strong woman, a refugee, not political but economic, from an island off Spain: There was not enough food to go around in her family, and she and her husband weree the sturdies, so they got out. They ran a vegetable store with one little window and almost no space....She was a great big beautiful woman: coal-black hair, big black eyes, but a very big grossly overweight body. I do not know how she squeezed through that little square hole. She and her tiny husband evidently slept, ate, lived down there.

"She taught me more than her stew, without knowing that I often pondered on how she washed her gleaming hair and stayed generally so sweet smelling, when it was plain that both she and the lettuces must bathe at the public pump and sleep in the dark cellar or under the little counter. She cooked on a gas ring behind a curtain at the back of the store, and that is how I came to ask her questions, because her stew had such a fine smell. She looked at me as if I were almost as ignorant as I was, and after my first lesson from her I bought a big earthenware pot, which I still use.

"The first ingredients were and still are eggplant and onions, garlic, green peppers, red peppers, plenty of ripe peeled tomatoes and some good olive oil. Proportions are imossible to fix firmly, since everything changes in size and flavor, but perhaps there should be three parts of eggplant to two of tomatoes and one each of the peppers and the onions and garlic. I really cannot say.

"Everything is sliced, cubed, chopped, minced, and, except for the tomatoes, is put into the pot...thrown in, that is, for the rough treatment pushes down the mass. At the end, when there is less than no room, the tomatoes are cubed or sliced generously across the top, and the lid is pressed down ruthlessly. When it is taken off, a generous amount of olive oil must be trickled over the whole to seep down. Then the lid is put on again. It may not quite fit, but it will soon drop into place. The whole goes into a gentle (300 degree) oven for about as long as one wishes to leave it there, like five or six hours. It should be stirred up from the bottom with a long spoon every couple of hours. It will be very soupy for a time, and then is when it makes a delicious nourishing meal served generously over slices of toasted french bread with plenty of grated dry cheese. Gradually it becomes more solid, as the air fills with the rich waftings which make neighbors sniff and smile. When it reaches the right texture to be eaten as one wishes, even with a fork, the lid can stay off and fresh shelled shrimps be laid amply on the top to turn white before they are stirred in, or small sausages already cooked well in beer or wine. Or it can simply be left in a turned-off oven to be chilled later for probably the best so-called ratatouille ever eaten."
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Paul Winalski

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Re: RCP: Ratatouille

by Paul Winalski » Tue Sep 06, 2011 1:42 pm

I have several times made the recipe Jenise posted, and can attest to its yumminess.

-Paul W.
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Jenise

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Re: RCP: Ratatouille

by Jenise » Tue Sep 06, 2011 2:31 pm

Paul, back when I first posted that (in the year 2001!!!), I made it too, and was hoping the long cooking would void my then-allergy to eggplant. It did not, but I'm now deliciously free of that allergy--it's time to try it again. I like Carl's and Mark's different approaches, too.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Bill Spohn

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Re: RCP: Ratatouille

by Bill Spohn » Wed Sep 07, 2011 2:15 pm

I can make a decent (but probably never great) ratat, but I find that it is an easy dish to screw up, and have tasted many that have been over cooked, improperly spiced or otherwise failed to live up to their potential.

Would love to find that one single great recipe! I agree that skinning the eggplant detracts from the result. You need some colour and texture to this dish or it becomes something one doesn't require teeth to eat, not a plus in my book.

Best use for left over ratat - reheat in a pan to remove some water and use it in the next morning's omelette! Of course the cheese I add improves just about anything.

Maybe that should be a law of cooking - if you don't like a dish very much, just add cheese and/or bacon to it until you like it some more!

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Bob Henrick

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Re: RCP: Ratatouille

by Bob Henrick » Fri Sep 09, 2011 11:21 pm

Jenise wrote:And then there's MFK Fisher's ratatouille, circa 1930:


My favorite Jenise, and with fall about to appear, it is time to start thinking of it!
Bob Henrick

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