Monday, February 13, 2006

More on Ratatouille

Some time ago, I opined that one would have to be mad or in thrall to French grandmothers to cook the vegetables for ratatouille separately.

I'm going to have to retract that.

For reasons I can't exactly articulate, I followed the directions in The Gourmet Magazine Cookbook in my most recent ratatouille endeavor. I cooked the tomatoes, garlic, and spices first. Then I peeled, rinsed, chopped, and strained the eggplant (I still don't quite understand this step). I cooked in a skillet in separate stages onions, peppers, zucchini, and eggplants--adding, as per the Gourmet recipe, olive oil each time. Finally, all of these individually cooked ingredients were added to to the tomato sauce and then stewed for an hour.

What was gained with all this bother: the flavors of pepper! and eggplant! were much more perceptible. And the bits were more recognizable and socially acceptable.

Upshot: if you're cooking ratatouille for company, or if you're cooking great quantities of ratatouille, it might really be worth cooking the ingredients separately. Still--don't let the bother dissuade you from making and enjoying this wonderful, healthy, and versitile dish: the easier version in the above link is also delicious.


Anonymous opit:

I was chasing comments about the great hunter and spotted your query about Firefox at Amanda'a ; I'm using and it's coming in in colour.

2/14/2006 12:54:00 AM  
Blogger Ben Wolfson:

But why would you want the flavor of eggplant to come through more? You can tell that eggplant (and breadfruit) are not to be trusted a priori, from the names alone. "Egg" "plant"? No thanks!

2/14/2006 01:01:00 AM  
Blogger Jackmormon:

Opit, thanks for the followup. I really need to upgrade everything on my computer, but actually I want a new one and am looking for every excuse...

Wolfson, you are mad. Once eggplant has been drained and sauteed in olive oil, are you really going to turn up your nose at it? Its peel is like flesh, I tell you, soft, purple flesh: that's got to be worth something!

And if the cooking method preserves the snappy integrity of the peppers (which in the all-together slow-cook tend to melt rather away, leaving only flakes of pepper-skin, causing the French-grandmother in my ex-boyfriend to insist that I try to peel the fuckers), well, that'll overbalance the eggplant-taste.

2/15/2006 09:00:00 PM  
Blogger Ben Wolfson:

Yeah, you really should peel the peppers. It's kind of a bitch (assuming you don't roast them first, in which case it's trivial), but worthwhile.

2/16/2006 01:18:00 AM  

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