|The lovely views of medieval St. Paul de Vence|
For this January Joy challenge, I will try to go for a vegetarian week. I will also take the opportunity to share the recipe of one of my favorite dishes: Ratatouille. If I don't count Jell-o, this was the first real meal I learnt how to cook. I learnt this recipe when I was 12 or so from my aunt while spending the summer at a Bergerie (shepherd's house) in the South of France. I have been cooking it ever since. We probably eat it at least once every two weeks, that's how good (and healthy) it is. It's also true that I am crazy about aubergine / eggplant so I'll take any chance I can to eat it. To me this dish tastes like summer but it can be enjoyed the whole year long. There are many variations to this recipe, this is just my take. You can eat it with rice, quinoa or mashed potatoes for a fulfilling meal. The next day, when cold, it is delicious as a salad or sandwich filling.
What you'll need
-2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped.
-1 shallot, chopped.
-1 aubergine / eggplant
-2 bell peppers ( I like to add color, so green and yellow for instance)
-1 zucchini / courgette (is the name in English squash? )
-salt, pepper, dried provençal herbs (rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil).
What to do
If you have one, this is the moment to take out your Dutch oven. Otherwise, any sturdy pan will do. Cut your vegetables in 1 x 1 cm. dices.Warm some olive-oil. When it's ready (you can tell by putting a wooden spoon over it, if bubbles form around it you're good) add the garlic and shallot and gently sautée them. You should get them transparent. Once they're ready add your aubergine, and let it cook until it starts to become soft. Add the bell peppers, and later, the zucchini. You want your vegetables to cook and mix their flavours. At this point you can add salt, pepper and herbs. The salt will have an osmotic effect and push the water out of your veggies, making everything softer. Add the tomatoes and mix everything together. Some people like their ratatouille soft, almost like a purée. Others like it to keep a certain "crunch". I like to let the aubergine and the tomatoes completely melt and mix, but the boy likes it with more consistency. It does take a while so just be patient and cook it to your liking. Enjoy !