Ratatouille

This weekend saw the first ripe aubergines in the greenhouse, which I picked along with a basket of tomatoes and two red cayenne chillies.

I decided to herald the occasion by preparing a ratatouille with one of the aubergines (keeping the chillies aside for a future dish).

A bowlful of the larger Shirley tomatoes were skinned and chopped.

Meanwhile, I sliced the aubergine and a large courgette with aspirations of marrow-dom that had been picked a few days earlier, along with a couple of our onions; then split a couple of the smaller garlic bulbs into cloves which I scattered among the vegetables in two glass dishes. I added olive oil and tossed the vegetables until they were evenly coated, then roasted them at 180°C  in a fan oven for about 40 minutes.

The dishes were removed from the oven and left to cool slightly, their sweet heady smell filling the kitchen. Once cool enough to handle, I picked out the cloves of garlic to squeeze their sweet contents back into the vegetables before discarding the skins.

The chopped tomatoes were then added to the vegetables along with light seasoning, and the dishes returned to the oven at a slightly cooler temperature for another 40 minutes or thereabouts until the tomato juice had reduced to give a wonderful thick texture.

This was a slight variation on the traditional Provence-inspired dish, which typically includes peppers, but I wanted its ingredients to be entirely home-grown and our sweet peppers have yet to ripen. Some recipes don’t precook the vegetables in this fashion, but I love the depth of flavour that roasting adds so tend to favour this method.

The ratatouille made a wonderful accompaniment to roast chicken.

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10 thoughts on “Ratatouille

  1. Wish I’d been invited to dinner! Rather than ratatouille, I usually roast all the vegetables in the oven together, this gives an amazing taste. If you look back through last summer’s posts I think you’ll find my recipe. I try to keep the chunks of vegetable quite large and use whole ‘cherry-type’ tomatoes, either pacchino, daterini or this summer I grew a peared shaped small yellow tomato that that even more colour to the dish. I’m lucky to even have my own olive oil so every ingrdient is ours. Christina

    • Wow, you manage to grow your own olives and press your own olive oil! I’m definitely living in the wrong climate.
      Simply roasting the vegetables once together sounds great too – can’t go wrong with fresh produce.
      Sara

  2. Looks delicious, my mouth is watering at the thought of a helping of that with roast chicken.. (perhaps a couple of roast potatoes too, homegrown of course) mmmm..

  3. Looks scrumptions Sara, and I think you are spot on to roast the veg first, though I imagine Christina’s approach would be really tasty too. I used to just cook it all up in a pan on the top of the stove, but you don’t get the same depth of flavour. I am deeply jealous of your red chillies, I doubt any of mine will turn now.

    • I suspect they are the only two ripe chillies we’ll see this year, the plants have been rather a washout this year along with the cucumbers after their initial fruiting. Must pay more attention to the greenhouse next year!

    • Thanks Nic, it’s the first time I’ve really tried to grow aubergines, and I’m pleased. Not sure whether there will be any more fruits, though; the plant is still covered in beautiful purple flowers but the temperatures are dropping so fast now…

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