If you’re a vegan or vegetarian, you’ll love the taste of ratatouille. Ratatouille is a dish made solely with vegetables, so the tomatoes give it a bit of acidity, the other veggies give it a lot of sweetness, the herbs help it taste fresh, and the fruitiness of the olive oil tops it off and brings all the tastes together.
What Is Ratatouille?
Ratatouille can be thought of as a unique type of summer vegetable stew because it is made with fresh vegetables that are ripe at this time of the year. The vegetables include some onions, lots of tomatoes, garlic, zucchini, and some capsicum. There are variations of the dish, of course, but these are the most commonly found veggies in a ratatouille dish. Eggplant is sometimes added to it, but the eggplant ends up with a rich flavor and not a bitter one if you decide to simmer it for a while.
Ratatouille is a French dish that originated in Nice. In terms of taste, it offers a little of everything, from saltiness to a touch of sweetness and an overall taste of richness that always has you wanting more. The herbs and spices used to improve the flavor of the dish usually include oregano, marjoram, thyme, bay leaf, and fresh basil, but you are free to add your own spices.
If you want to make the absolute best authentic ratatouille, consider buying vegetables from a farmers’ market or growing your own. Fresh produce is always best. Make sure your tomatoes are extra ripe so they will taste extraordinary.
Ratatouille can be time-consuming to make, but it’s worth it if you enjoy cooking.
How Is Ratatouille Made?
If you ask several chefs who make ratatouille, you might get some conflicting answers about how to make it. This is because many cooks swear that each vegetable has to be cooked separately before being combined, while other cooks claim that you can cook all the vegetables at the same time. Purists prefer the former, but the truth is, as long as you use ripe, fresh veggies and the right amount of seasonings, your ratatouille is bound to be delicious.
There are a few things that all cooks agree on when it comes to homemade ratatouille. First, for the best taste, only extra-virgin olive oil should be used to cook the vegetables, and once the vegetables are combined, let them simmer for a little while. Next, all of your fresh herbs should be added right before you take the dish off the stove so that they season the dish just right. This is especially important if the herbs and spices you’re using are fresh.
And one more tip before we get off this subject: Ratatouille can be eaten hot or cold. Many people prefer it cold. In fact, some believe that if you want the best flavor from your ratatouille, you should make a batch the day before you plan to eat it and keep it in the refrigerator. This way, the flavors of the herbs and vegetables will have more time to blend together perfectly.
How To Serve Ratatouille
The best part of eating ratatouille is that it can work as the perfect side dish, main dish, vegetarian dish, or even as a snack. The French usually serve ratatouille as a hot side dish with chicken or beef or cold as an appetizer, often placed on top of a baguette. In the U.S., it is often eaten as a summer stew or as a side dish.
Sourdough bread or some good ciabatta is a perfect accompaniment for ratatouille, and you can also use ratatouille as your main dish served with a side of brown rice. Oven-roasted or fried potatoes go well with ratatouille, as does polenta. If you prefer ratatouille as a side dish, serve it with grilled meat or fish or any type of bean- or lentil-based dish.
A Changing Dish
While ratatouille was at one time considered peasant food, that is no longer the case. Almost everyone loves ratatouille, not only for its great taste but also for the wonderful colors of the dish that make it stand out. It’s a dish you won’t regret trying.