Chef Marc Murphy’s Ratatouille Is What Dinner Dreams Are Made Of

Most people, when asked what they know of ratatouille, will mention the fantastic animated film of the same name. I, however, associate ratatouille with my French grandmother, who, living in the south of France, fittingly made a lot of it in the summer with all the vegetables that were at their peak of ripeness. When we make ratatouille at our restaurants, we start by cooking all the vegetables separately. We do this because different vegetables cook at different times, and we want to get each vegetable just right. Yes, my method takes a little bit longer than just dumping everything in the pot at once, but you get a big bump in flavor from letting every- thing brown nicely first. Instead of steaming together, the vegetables get a nice sear, and the results are well worth a few extra minutes of cooking time.

RATATOUILLE

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil
  • 1 small eggplant (1 pound), cut into 3⁄4-inch cubes
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 large green zucchini (1 pound), cut into 3⁄4-inch pieces
  • 1 large yellow squash (1 pound), cut into 3⁄4-inch pieces
  • 2 small red onions, diced 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 red bell peppers, cut into 3⁄4-inch pieces
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes or 11⁄2 pounds fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 fresh or dried bay leaf
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive Tapenade (optional)

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F; position the rack in the lower third of the oven.

2. In a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven, heat enough oil to cover the bottom of the pot over medium-high heat until the oil is shimmering. Add the eggplant and cook, stirring, until browned, 5 to 6 minutes. As the eggplant absorbs a lot of oil, you may need to add more oil if you see the bottom of the pot go dry. Add a generous pinch of salt, transfer the eggplant to a rimmed baking sheet, and set aside.

3. Return the pot to the stove over medium-high heat, add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pot, and add the zucchini. Cook, stirring, until lightly browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Add a generous pinch of salt and transfer to the pan with the eggplant.

4. Return the pot to the stove over medium-high heat, add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pot, and add the yellow squash. Cook, stirring, until browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Add a generous pinch of salt and transfer to the pan with the other cooked vegetables.

5. Return the pot to the stove over medium-high heat, add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pot, and add the onions. Cook, stirring, until softened and beginning to caramelize, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the garlic and a generous pinch of salt, cook for 30 seconds more, and transfer to the pan with the other cooked vegetables.

6. Return the pot to the stove over medium-high heat, add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pot, and add the bell peppers. Cook, stirring, until softened, 6 to 7 minutes. Add a generous pinch of salt and remove from the heat.

7. Return all the cooked vegetables to the pot. Add the tomatoes, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaf. Stir and season to taste with salt and black pepper. If you plan to use the Olive Tapenade, salt conservatively, as the tapenade will be salty. Cover and transfer the pot to the oven. Roast the ratatouille for 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft and resemble a stew. Stir in the tapenade, if using, and discard the thyme, rosemary, and bay leaf before serving.

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Test