Sunday, January 20, 2008

Rémy does ratatouille

I'd love to have Rémy living in my hair, just to guide me through some difficult culinary moments, but as I have a severe aversion to rodents of any sort, I'll have to rely on my favourite Australian "cook", Maggie Beer. If you haven't seen the movie Ratatouille, it's a must see for any foodie out there. I laughed, I nearly cried, but mostly I envied Linguine for having such a valuable teacher by his side. My kids thought I'd really lost it this time, watching a kids movie. But hey, I loved Shrek too, so no big deal.

Maggie's version of ratatouille is modeled on the traditional French style of slow cooking, until all of the vegetable flavours meld together until they have lost most of their shape, developing luscious juices. Served as a side with roast lamb (which I'm having tonight), it's Maggie's way of sitting down with friends to enjoy a summer evening, without having to rush around in the kitchen. Now that's my kind of Sunday night.


3 eggplants cut into 3 cm cubes


½ cup olive oil

2 onions, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

3 red peppers, seeded and cut into cubes

6 small or 3 large zucchini, cut into 3 cm cubes

A few coriander seeds, crushed

4 large ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped

Freshly ground black pepper

Freshly chopped parsley, or torn basil


Place eggplant on a tray and lightly sprinkle with salt. Cover with foil and press lightly with weights for an hour. Wipe off moisture with a paper towel or clean tea towel, and drain juices.

Heat oil in an enamelled cast-iron casserole in which the finished dish can be served, and sauté onion until limp and golden. Add garlic, red pepper and eggplant, then cover the casserole and cook gently on stovetop for 40 minutes. Add zucchini, coriander seeds, tomato and a grinding of black pepper and cook for a further 20 minutes until vegetables are tender. Stir in parsley or basil and adjust seasoning. Serve either hot, warm or cold.

Kalyn, from Kalyn's Kitchen has nominated Rinku from Cooking in Westchester to be the host for this weekend's event.

Mon dieu, Écouter..Say no more


croyus said...

This looks like a great use of eggplant. My kids won't eat the egg plant parmesan anymore, so I'll see if they will try this out. Thanks for the idea!

Pam said...

Hi Croy, kids like variety, so I can understand that eggplant parmesan has become similar to my one lamb chop and three veg, when I was a kid. Let them watch Ratatuille, then ask them what ingredients Remy put in the soup to make it taste better. Tell them to make their own ratatuille, but make sure the eggplant is in the stew. Then give them some fresh, crusty bread, teach them how to "mop" up the juices with their bread, and you'll be the best dad on the block!!!

Laurie Constantino said...

I love ratatouille and your lovely picture really made me wish it was eggplant season. Great recipe!

ostwestwind said...

I like ratatouille, I think there are as many recipes as households in the world.

Kalyn said...

Sounds delicious. I'm intrigued by the addition of coriander seed. When I took my nephews to this movie, the 5 year old said "What did the rat cook for the mean guy" and he was most impressed to hear that I had a recipe for it on my blog. Not sure he would have eaten it though, but maybe.

Pam said...

Hi Laurie, I'd never tried ratatouille until now, thinking it was always a winter dish, so I was pleasantly surprised at how good it is.
Hi Ostwestwind, yes I can guess there would be many variations of this recipe, depending what was in season at the time.
Hi Kalyn, did you enjoy the movie with your nephews? I loved it, and would watch it again at any time, as well as make ratatouille again at any time!