Tuesday, 17 September 2013


My local market
Thanks to Disney, almost everyone now knows the name of this classic French dish, which is one of my personal favourites. As a child, I was brought up on the Italian 'peperonata' which is very similar, but without aubergines and courgettes (US translation: egg plants and zucchini) and is delicious as a hot accompaniment to meat or as a cold salad. Add in what are my two favourite vegetables and we are very close to perfection. 
Ratatouille, (ra-ta-too-ee) has it's origins in the southern, Provence region of France and therefore has cousins in most Mediterranean countries. You will find it on menus hiding behind names such as 'pisto' (Spain), 'caponata' (Italy), 'kapunata' (Malta), lecso (Hungary), and 'briami' (Greece). Even in France, it sometimes masquerades as the romantic 'valentine' or the mouthful 'bohémienne languedocienne'.
Tuesday morning is market morning in my neighbourhood, so I popped out to get the vegetables to prepare it. 


2 aubergines (egg plants)
2 white onions
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
2 medium courgettes (zucchini)
6 large plum tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
6 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of tomato purée
2 teaspoons of chopped tarragon
1 teaspoon of chopped rosemary
ground black pepper

Chop the aubergines into large cubes. Cover them with salt, and leave them to sweat their juices for about 10 minutes. 
Peel and halve the onions and them cut them into semi-circular slices. 
Remove the insides of the peppers and cut the skin into large square pieces. 
Chop the courgettes into rounds and chop the tomatoes into eight pieces each. 
All your pieces of vegetable should be about the same size. 

Heat the oil gently in a large saucepan or casserold and add the aubergines, onions, peppers, and courgettes. Cook for about 5 minutes and then add the garlic and the herbs. Add the tomatoes and tomato purée, season with salt and pepper. Add a small amount of water and then cover and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the peppers are tender. 

Serve hot as an accompaniment for chicken or meat, as a main course, or cold as a salad. 

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