created: 2004-07-19 15:45:45
I like to serve with rice or in buckwheat crepes.
This can be a most attractive dish but not if it ends up mushy. So to avoid this, make sure you don't cut up the vegetables too small (they must retain their individuality), and also make sure you get rid of the excess moisture in the courgettes and aubergines by salting and draining them at the start. Serves 4 2 large aubergines 3 medium courgettes 2 medium onions 2 red or green peppers 4 large tomatoes, or 1 x 14 oz (400 g) tin Italian tomatoes, well drained 2 cloves garlic, crushed 4 tablespoons olive oil 1 level tablespoon roughly torn fresh basil (or whatever herb you think would suit) salt and freshly milled black pepper Begin by wiping the aubergines and cutting them into 1 inch (2.5 cm) slices, then cut each slice in half; the courgettes should be wiped as well and cut into 1 inch (2.5 cm) slices. Now put the whole lot into a colander, sprinkle generously with salt, press them down with a suitably sized plate and put weights (or other heavy objects) on top of the plate. Let them stand for about 1 hour – the salt will draw out any bitterness along with excess moisture. Meanwhile chop up the onion roughly, deseed and core the peppers and chop these up too. Quarter tomatoes, take out the seeds and roughly chop. To cook the ratatouille, gently fry the onions and garlic in the oil in a large saucepan for a good 10 minutes, then add the peppers. Dry the pieces of courgette and aubergine in kitchen paper, then add them to the saucepan. Next add the basil and seasoning of salt and pepper, stir once really well, then simmer very gently, covered, for 30 minutes. After that time add the tomato flesh, taste to check the seasoning and cook for a further 15 minutes with the lid off.