The name Ratatouille comes from the French verb touiller meaning to toss food. Ratatouille originated in the area around Nice in Provence. The Catalan ‘samfaina’ and the Mallorcan ‘tumbet’ are similar.
Ingredients for 2 to 4 people
an onion, sliced finely
a red pepper, thick slices
a green pepper, thick slices
4 cloves of garlic, pealed and coarsley chopped
a bay leaf
a few sprigs of thyme
a large aubergine, quartered lengthwise, and cut into thick slices
2 courgettes, thick slices
4 or 5 tomatoes, peeled, and cut into small dice.
Sauté the onion in 3 or 4 tablespoons of oil until they are soft. Add the peppers, keep sautéing steadily for quite some time until the mixture is very soft. Add the tomatoes and keep cooking for 20 minutes or until the mixture is starting to dry.
In a wide pan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil and sauté the courgette over a medium heat until fairly dry and golden. Drain off any excess oil and add the courgette to the tomato mixture.
Repeat the process with the aubergine and also add it to the tomato mixture. Season and add the herbs. Cook the vegetable mélange gently for another 15 minutes until very tender and all the flavours have melded. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Ratatouille takes kindly to reheating. It can perfectly well accompany a joint of lamb or veal, grilled chops, steaks or sausages.