July 29, 2006
Ratatouille is one of those mysterious concoctions that is way more fabulous than the sum of its parts. I never liked tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, or bell peppers, but for some reason, when you cook them all together with garlic and herbs, it is just about the most fantastic vegetable dish ever. It has become one of those late-summer treats I eagerly anticipate all year because ratatouille is so labor-intensive that it is only worth making when I can get all of the ingredients at the farmers' market. The first few times I made it, I followed the recipe to the letter, afraid that if I didn't use the exact right vegetables in the exact right proportions, that ratatouille magic wouldn't happen. But I have found that it is much less finnicky than I had previously thought. It seems that the only nonnegotiables are the tomatoes, eggplants, and garlic; everything else is open to interpretation. Last week there were no peppers at the market, so I left them out. Today I got purple peppers, red onions, and genovese basil. I bet it would also be good with hot peppers and/or okra. I don't even measure the vegetables anymore: I just buy a bunch of stuff, throw it all together in the slow cooker, forget about it all day, and have a steaming pot of ratatouille-ish by dinner time.
Posted by eklanche at July 29, 2006 12:20 PM