Ratatouille

This is our first Julia Child recipe on the site – we enjoyed it thoroughly and we hope you do too!

1 baby eggplant (about 1/2 pound)

1/2 pound zucchini

2 teaspoons salt

4 tablespoons olive oil

3/4 cup chopped onions (2 medium sized yellow onions)

1 chopped green bell pepper

3 tablespoons MORE olive oil

1 clove minced garlic

1 large tomato (see below recipe for further instructions)

3 tablespoons minced parsley

Cut the eggplant into lengthwise slices 3/8 inches thick, about 3 inches long, and 1 inch wide. (Julia suggests that you peel it, but we like the taste, texture and nutrients afforded from the skin of an eggplant.) Slice off the two ends of the zucchini and cut into slices about the same size. Place the vegetables in a large bowl and toss with the salt. Let stand for 30 minutes, then drain and dry each slice with a towel.

One layer at a time, saute the eggplant and then the zucchini in hot olive oil for about a minute on each side to brown very lightly. The eggplant will likely soak up the olive oil, so you may need to add more as you go. Remove these to a side dish lined with a paper towel.

In the same skillet, cook the onions and peppers slowly in the extra olive oil. Cook for about 10 minutes or until tender, but not brown. Stir in the garlic and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Slice the tomato pulp into 3/8 inch strips (if you didn’t scroll down to the bottom of the page, you’re confused. Go ahead and scroll down to figure out what to do with the tomato.) Lay the tomato strips over the onions and peppers and season with salt and pepper as desired. Cover the skillet and cook over low heat for 5 minutes, or until the tomatoes have begun to render their juices. Uncover, raise heat, and boil for several minutes until the juice is almost entirely evaporated.

Place a third of the onion/pepper/tomato mixture in the bottom of a casserole (we used an 8×11 pyrex) and sprinkle 1 tablespoon of parsley over it. Arrange half of the eggplant/zucchini on top, then the next third of the onion/pepper/tomato mixture, and then the next tablespoon of parsley. Now, as you might have guessed, put a layer of eggplant/zucchini, followed by the remaining tomato/onion/pepper and finished with the remaining parsley.

Cover the casserole and simmer (yes, on the stove) over low heat for 10 minutes. Uncover, tip casserole, and baste with the rendered juices, correcting the seasoning if necessary. Raise heat slightly and cook uncovered for about 15 minutes more, basting several times, until juices have evaporated, leaving only a spoonful or two of immensely flavored olive oil. Julia warns you to be careful with your heat to avoid scorching the vegetables on the bottom.

(We did NOT take a picture of the bottom of our ratatouille, because with our pyrex and cheap stove top and lack of experience in making this dish, we regret to report that there was a little scorching – no worries though, it still tasted great!)

If you’re serving this as a main dish, as we did, ration out portions in a bowl and serve with toasted French bread – ENJOY!

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TOMATOES LIKE JULIA DOES THEM:

This is taken directly from Mastering the Art of French Cooking:

“Use firm, ripe, red tomatoes. Drop the tomato(es) one or two at a time in boiling water to cover, and boil for exactly 10 seconds. Remove. Cut out the stem. Peel off the skin starting from the stem hole.

Cut peeled tomatoes in half crosswise, not through the stem. Squeeze each half gently to extract the seeds and juices from the center of the tomato.”

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