One of the best things that I’ve learned how to make in culinary school is ratatouille. But making Niçoise-Style Ratatouille takes too long, there’s so much more technique, ingredients, and steps to do. This quick version takes less prep and cooking time because the knife cut is smaller.
This recipe makes three ring molds like the picture below.
- ½ onion, very finely diced
- 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 4 plum tomatoes
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into tiny squares
- 1 eggplant, cut into tiny squares
- 1 zucchini, cut into tiny squares
- Bouquet garni
- EVOO, as needed
- 3 basil leaves
- Canola oil
Boil the tomatoes for 15 seconds in boiling water to remove the skin. Place in cold water with ice to stop the cooking process. Remove the skin with a pairing knife, cut the tomato in half (length-wise), then remove the seeds. Reserve those for later, and then finely chop the flesh. Strain the seeds and save the juice.
Place the eggplant in a colander and sprinkle lightly with salt. Let it disgorge while continuing with the recipe.
In a hot pan, add 1 TBS EVOO and sauté the red peppers. Season with salt and drain in a strainer. Repeat for zucchini and eggplant. Before sautéing the eggplant, squeeze out as much moisture as you can.
As the three vegetables are straining, heat 2 TBS EVOO in a pan. Sweat the onions for 5 minutes, until translucent, on low heat. Add in the minced garlic, cook until aromatic. Turn up the heat to medium and add the finely chopped tomatoes, season. Cook for a few minutes and then add in the remaining vegetables, along with the bouquet garni and strained tomato juices.
Cover with parchment paper and simmer gently for 30 minutes until all the moisture has evaporated. Adjust for seasoning.
Fry the basil leaves in canola oil. Place on paper towels and garnish when finish plating in ring molds.
Serve with baguette slices.
*Adapted from the French Culinary Institute.