My dad used to make ratatouille from his collection of French cookbooks when I was growing up. The aroma from the kitchen of making this recipe is almost as comforting as the food for me. I particularly love making Ratatouille in the colder months and use the leftovers for breakfast dishes. I have tried a few different ratatouille recipes in the past, however my Dad's adaptation uses anchovy paste which puts the end result in a class of its own.
RATATOUILLE // serves 8-10
by brunchpant's dad Marcel
prep time: 30 minutes // cook time: 25 - 30 minutes plus 2 hours for reducing sauce // TOTAL TIME: 3 hours
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. anchovy paste
1 large yellow onion - cut into "Rondelle" ( large circles )
3 garlic cloves, chopped
eggplant - 1 kilo ( about 2.2 lbs. ) preferably the longer Italian variety, cut into 1.5 inch pieces or rounds ( depending on the size of zuchinni you are using )
zucchini - 1 kilo ( about 2.2 lbs. ) - cut into round pieces
3 - 16oz canned organic peeled tomatoes - roughly chopped
1 red pepper - sliced into strips, lengthwise, about 1 cm thick
1 yellow pepper - sliced into strips, lengthwise, about 1 cm thick
1 green pepper - sliced into strips, lengthwise, about 1 cm thick
1/2 tsp. fresh thyme and/or optional herbes de provence
3 bay leaves
4 whole cloves
1/4 tsp. clove powder
salt and pepper to taste
handful fresh basil leaves - roughly chopped ( save a small amount for garnish )
handful fresh flat leaf parsley - roughly chopped ( save a small amount for garnish )
Use a medium size stock pot and over medium heat, start by "perfuming" the olive oil with Anchovy Paste" ( in french called huile d'olive parfumée ). Be sure not to overheat the olive oil.
Add the onions, cut into “Rondelle” ( big circles ) and sauté them until translucent.
Add the chopped garlic and stir for a few minutes until fragrant.
Add the eggplant first so it soaks up some of the olive oil and continually stir for about 1 minute.
Add the peppers and zucchini in alternating layers, stacking them on top of each other.
Pour in the tomatoes with the juice, covering all of the vegetables. ( note - If you need more liquid to cover the vegetables, add a little no-sodium chicken stock or water )
Add the remaining herbs and spices - thyme, cloves, clove powder, bay leaves, basil and parsley and lightly stir to cover all the ingredients in liquid.
Cover and cook over medium heat for 25 minutes. Use a knife to pierce through the zucchini and eggplant to test, if it slides in easily, you know it is finished.
Strain out the vegetables and set aside, saving the liquid to reduce. ( cover with foil and set aside in the oven if you want to serve this dish hot, otherwise leave uncovered )
Reduce the sauce by boiling over medium-high heat. You want the sauce to reduce to a glaze-like consistency. The time this will take depends on the type of pot you are using, but expect at least 1.5 hours. Stir frequently to avoid burning.
Once sauce is reduced to a glaze, pour over the strained vegetables and garnish with leftover basil, parsley and thyme.
You can serve this dish hot or at room temperature.
glaze the dish with the reduced vegetable sauce right before you serve and sprinkle with some of the leftover basil and parsley.
do not use the long Chinese zucchini for this recipe as it doesn't have the right flavor.