As I was looking for a “Stew recipe” for this month’s Weekend Cookbook Challenge (WCC), I saw this colorful, full of veggies stew in my “Best Ever Vegetarian Cookbook” (edited by Nicola Graimes). Name of the dish sounded a little funny, Ratatouille, so I decided to do a little digging and this is what I found out from wikipedia.
The name of the dish appears to have derived from the French verb touiller, to stir, although the root of the first element “rat-” is a slang from the French Army meaning chunky stew. The word ratatouille has also come to be used in non-culinary contexts in English to refer to a (generally colourful) mixture of any kind. Ratatouille is a traditional French Provençal stewed vegetable dish which can be served as a meal on its own (accompanied by rice, potatoes, or simply French bread), or as a side dish.
There is a also a animated movie being made with the same name. More info and story here.
Sprinkle eggplant and zucchini pieces with salt, then put them in a colander with a plate and a weight on top to extract the bitter juices. Leave for about 30 minutes.
Heat 4tbsp olive oil (recipe called for 2/3 cups oil, I reduced it to 4tbsp, you may want to use even less oil) in a large saucepan, saute onions for 6-7 minutes or until just softened, add garlic and cook for 2 minutes.
Rinse the eggplant and zucchini pieces and pat dry with a clean dish towel. Add these to the pan along with the peppers, increase the heat and saute until the peppers are just turning brown, about 8-10 minutes.
Add the herbs and coriander seeds, cover and cook gently for about 20-30 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Cook gently for a further 10 minutes, until the veggies are soft but not mushy.
Remove the sprigs of rosemary and thyme herbs. Stir in the torn basil leaves and check the seasoning. Leave to cool slightly and serve warm or cold.
This recipe is adapted from The Greatest Ever Vegetarian Cookbook, Edited by Nicola Graimes.