I am not sure how close to a traditional ratatouille this is, but it is pretty true to the one I learnt how to make while living and eating my way through the south of France. I've kept this one on rotation for seven years (!!) and it never fails to satisfy. With a recipe this simple, the secret is all in the quality of the ingredients. That being said, it's a perfect example of a dish that I tend to only make in the summer when the ingredients are in their prime. 'Dem juicy tomatoes, crispy pepper, plump eggplant, fragrant zucchinis, and vibrant herbs.
I like to cook ratatouille in stages as opposed to tossing all the ingredients in the pan at once and hoping for the best. If you want to do this in a slow-cooker or a pressure cooker, you are on your own as I can't attest to how well it'll turn out. For me, the tomatoes are always best added near the end so they don't get overly mushy and saturate the dish.
The ratios of the veggies is up to you. This recipe is an example of what I had on hand. If you only have 1 eggplant but 2 bell peppers it'll still turn out wonderfully.
3 medium shallots, chopped into large chunks
4 cloves of garlic, crushed and minced
2 small eggplants, cubed
2 medium zucchinis ( I used both yellow and green), cut into rounds
1 red pepper, chopped to roughly the size size as the eggplant cubes and zucchini rounds
3 tomatoes (or 5 roma tomatoes), cubed and set a side
1 heaping tbsp Herbes de Provence (I use a blend of both dried and fresh), minced if using fresh
Salt and pepper, to taste
fat of choice for frying
basil leaves for garnish
Melt your fat of choice in a large pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and saute until slightly translucent (3 mins). Toss in the garlic, give it a stir, and saute until fragrant (also about 3 mins). Season with salt, pepper and the Herbes de Provence and stir. After a minute or so, add the eggplant, zucchini, and pepper chucks. Stir so the veggies are well coated with the garlic and herbs. Cover the pan and let sit for 5 minutes. After the time is up, give it a good stir and let sit for another 5 minutes undisturbed. Stir again, this time turn the heat down to a simmer and let the veggies cook for at least 20 mins with the occasional stir. If I have more time, I usually leave it to simmer on low for up to an hour. Now for the tomatoes: I like to add mine within the last 10 mins of cooking. This is the time I like to taste a sliver of zucchini and see if I want to add more salt and pepper --I usually do. Once the ratatouille has cooked to your liking, remove it from the heat, take off the lid and let it sit for a few minutes before serving. Garish with fresh basil. And if you are feeling an extra flavour boost, drizzle it all with a good olive oil before serving.
It is deliciously served on top of brown or wild rice and with a fried egg on top.