Ratatouille….when I had this very Provencal product for the first time, it left a much bigger impression on my mind than I had thought it would. I had heard about it, seen pictures online but every time I kept saying to myself---this is just any other mixed vegetable stew, so what’s the big deal? Well, it definitely is a big deal and I was convinced when I ate Ratatouille for lunch at our French friends, Fab and So’s place more than a year back. They are originally from Provence in France. So I will leave it to your imagination to guess how good this lunch must have been! As for me, I was literally dancing after eating this ratatouille. All of my favorite vegetables, cooked together with olive oil, garlic and the world famous “Herb de Provence”……I almost wanted to lick the pot!
Unfortunately it was not until recently that I had a chance to cook Ratatouille at home. Yes, I know that you are going to think that I just talked of being so utterly obsessed with it, but then why hadn’t I tried making it at home for such a long time. May be I was waiting for the long spell to break with a very special gift that I got from the same friends when we visited them in Marseilles. Yes, Herb de Provence! That was my gift directly from its birthplace. Could anything go wrong with my Ratatouille now?
Given the experimental bug in me that refuses to give up, anything and everything could have still gone wrong. That’s because I wanted to make a broiled version of Ratatouille. And so I did! I managed to retain its authentic flavors while taking the liberty to tweak the recipe. It was definitely a hit with my friends on a recent Friday night dinner!
3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 tbs Herb de Provence
1 onion, diced
1 large eggplant, cubed
1 large green bell peppers, diced
1 large red bell peppers, diced
2 large tomatoes, diced
2 large zucchinis, cubed
1/3 cup cheese (Optional)
Salt and pepper as per your taste
1. Heat the olive oil in an ovenproof dish under the broiler.
2. Add garlic and onions and broil them until they start to turn slightly brown.
3. Add all the vegetables except the tomatoes and broil the mixture until it is almost cooked, mixing after every 7-8 minutes.
4. Add the tomatoes and cook for another 10 minutes until all the vegetables are completely cooked.
5. Finally add Herb de Provence, salt and pepper and mix well.
6. Top with cheese and broil for another 5 minutes.
Serve the ratatouille hot as a side or main dish. Eat it plain or serve with a side of French bread or couscous.