Ratatouille with fresh tomatoes






On our way to the mountains, we once had lunch in Guillestre, a small town in the crossroads to the Queyras region in the Southern Alps.  The restaurant served a version of ratatouille, ratatouille façon sauce vierge, with cooked aubergine and courgette cubes and chopped fresh tomatoes in different colours which were marinated in olive oil. The vegetables were mixed as in ratatouille and sprinkled with pistou, basil and olive oil purée.

The dish was so fresh on a warm summer day that I wanted to try it at home. The following recipe is my version of the restaurant ratatouille.

Wash and coarsely chop 1 aubergine and 2 courgettes. In a heavy casserole, warm about 2 tbsp. olive oil over medium heat and sauté the vegetables for about 10 minutes. Add 1 chopped onion and 1 minced clove of garlic. Mix, reduce the heat somewhat, cover and simmer for about 45 minutes until the vegetables are soft.

Use about 1/3 -1/4 of this vegetable mixture for 2 servings, the rest can be frozen in batches.

2 servings

About 1/3- ¼ of the above vegetable mixture
1 red tomato, coarsely chopped
1 yellow tomato, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp. olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
About 2 tbsp. pistou

Place the chopped tomatoes in a colander for about 10 minutes so that they release some of their water. Then place in a bowl and mix with olive oil and black pepper. Let marinate for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile make the pistou. Grind a generous handful of basil leaves with 1- 2 tsp. olive oil, a pinch of salt, and ¼ clove of pressed garlic into a nice purée. This is best done by hand with a pestle and mortar, the purée doesn’t need to be completely smooth.

When you are ready to serve your vegetables, with some meat or chicken for example, mix the marinated tomatoes with the cooked aubergine and courgette cubes. Sprinkle with pistou.

In the photo, the vegetables are served with turkey escalopes and panisses, chickpea cakes.

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