There is something mysterious about this dish. I think I must have had an amazing ratatouille at some point in developmental years because I have been on the search for a good recipe in my adult years. Nothing has met my expectations.
This year I am trying again. I am basing this effort off of a recipe from Chez Panisse Vegetables by chef and restaurateur Alice Waters. As ratatouille really is just sautéed vegetables I have decided not to procrastinate in cooking and am making the dish the same day I picked up ingredients at the farmers market. Alice Waters reccamends, for optimal visual appeal, to sauté the vegetables separately and combine at the end. If Alice reccamends it, I’m doing it. As would be expected leftovers are better than the first day, so I wonder if the clarity colors of the vegetables degrade over time?
I did add some thyme to the sautéing of the onions and I did not do a bouquet garni but just added the basil as a garnish. Cheated on the fresh theme and am using canned diced tomatoes. I am growing 7 different types of tomatoes this year but not one is considered a good cooking tomato. Unfortunate planning on my part and something to add to the growing list for next year. One of the cans is from an Italian purveyor called Rienzi and labeled hot and spicy Italian cherry tomatoes. I didn’t find them especially spicy and added the chili flakes that are optional in this recipe.
I served it with parmesan because let’s face it, everything is better with cheese, and some toasted crusty fruit and nut bread from the Red Hen stand at the market (this is my favorite of their loaves). As I scooped the first, then second, then third spoonful of ratatouille in my mouth I had to smile….at long last we have a winner! Thanks so much Alice! If leftovers are even better, I can’t wait for tomorrow.