I was looking through a list of traditional French recipes from southeastern France (because that’s where I’m living, specifically in a city called Antibes), and ratatouille caught my eye. Most people are probably familiar with the dish thanks to the Disney Pixar movie. I was interested in it because it was made entirely of vegetables! My diet here consists of ridiculous amounts of bread and cake, so I wanted to change things up a bit. I slightly modified a recipe I found online for ratatouille because I didn’t need enough to serve the 6 people it allowed for.
½ cup olive oil (though actually I think I accidentally added in a lot more than this...in the end it didn’t make it taste bad, but next time I’ll try to keep my ratatouille a little less oily)
1 tbsp. herbes de Provence
6 cloves of garlic (smashed and peeled)
4 small onions
1 yellow pepper
5 tomatoes (the recipe called for canned and peeled, but I just chopped up fresh tomatoes instead)
|The vegetables that made me feel better about having eaten two of everything on this platter...|
The recipe said to cut the vegetables into rather large pieces, but with my host-mom’s blessing (she is a much more knowledgeable cook than me and is kind enough to always be willing to give me some guidance in the kitchen), I chopped the vegetables into bite size pieces. That way they’d cook faster, and I wouldn’t have to chop them up before I could start eating my dish. My host-mom also suggested I use a pot for the stove that she had instead of cooking the ratatouille in the oven, because she said it’d be faster.
|Preparing the garlic.|
First I put the onions, herbes de Provence, olive oil and garlic in a frying pan and cooked them over the stove for about 10 minutes. Then I added the zucchini. After about five to ten minutes, I transferred the zucchini to the larger pot my host-mom had given me and put the eggplant in the frying pan. I did the same with the eggplant and tomatoes, after which I also added the onion mixture to the pot. My host-mom came back to help me secure the lid on the pot and set the stove to a medium low temperature so that the vegetables would cook without burning. After about 30 to 45 minutes, they were ready!
|I know the picture doesn’t look particularly appetizing, but it did taste good! The different vegetables mixed with garlic and herbes de Provence creates a great mix of flavors.|
Lucy Havens is the Spring 2014 MOJO in the French Riviera. She is currently a junior at Carnegie Mellon University studying Information Systems.
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