August 25, 2011

Ratatouille

Ratatouille is such a perfect meal to use the abundant vegetables of late summer.  Tomatoes, eggplant, green pepper and summer squash...at least those are the veggies in the version I made tonight.

Chris' parents arrived right on time this evening, and then patiently waited for me to make ratatouille for dinner (Chris also made pork chops for the three meat eaters).  They both liked it, so that's 4 thumbs-up from the Kuckleburgs :)

I followed the same recipe as I did last summer because we loved it then.  I was very tempted to try a new version which was e-mailed to me yesterday by Food 52, but Chris convinced me not to try anything new on our guests.


Printer-Friendly Recipe

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 medium eggplant (about 3 cups), cut into 1/2 inch cubes
salt to taste
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 zucchini, sliced and then cut in half
1 medium onion, sliced into half rings
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1 green bell pepper, cut in strips and then in half
2 large tomatoes, chopped


From what I understand, ratatouille is supposed to be like a stew, which this version definitely isn't.  However, it tastes fantastic and I think I prefer it non stew-like.  We ate it just as you see below, however I was reading on Food 52 that it makes a great topping for pizza and pasta, which I look forward to trying.


I was curious about the history of ratatouille, and found this interesting bit of information on Gourmet Sleuth.   "Although the Disney animation hit of 2007 brought this term to the forefront of the American population the name refers to a French dish dating back to 18th century France.

The name is derived from the French words ratouiller and tatouiller which according to Alan Davidson (The Oxford Companion To Food) are expressive forms of the verb touiller which means to stir up. Further, Davidson states the first appearance of the word in English was found in Cassell's Dictionary of Cookery, 1877.

Actually at that time the word was misspelled as 'ratouville' and referred to a meat stew. In the 20th Century later authors such as Heyraud described the dish as "a ragout of aubergine (eggplant) with tomatoes, courgettes (zucchini) and sweet peppers" eaten throughout Languedoc and Provence. This author also states that the name Ratatouille was given by the citizens of Nice.

No matter who is credited with the dish or the name it became exceedingly popular throughout France. Most agree the popularity grew because it was easy to make with abundant summer ingredients and that it could be served cold as well as warm."

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