The Art Of French Cooking- Week 6 -Ratatouille

This week, Miss S actually made Ratatouille,
while I was watching the movie.
Your eyes are fine--
that's just a glare down the center of our TV screen.

[Eggplant Casserole--with tomatoes, onions, peppers and zucchini]

Ratatouille perfumes the kitchen with the essence of Provence and is certainly one of the great Mediterranean dishes. As it is strongly flavored, it is best when it accompanies plain roast or broiled beef or lamb, or plain roast, broiled, or sauteed chicken. Equally good hot or cold, it also makes a fine accompaniment to cold meats, or may be served as a cold hors d'oeuvre.

A really good ratatouille is not one of the quicker dishes to make, as each element is cooked separately before it is arranged in the casserole to partake of a brief communal simmer. This recipe is the only one we know of which produces a ratatouille in which each vegetable retains its own shape and character. Happily, a ratatouille may be cooked completely the day before it is to be served, and it seems to gain in flavor when reheated.

  • 1 lb. eggplant
  • 1 lb. zucchini
  • A 3 quart mixing bowl
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 10-12-inch skillet
  • 4 TBSP. Olive oil, more if needed
  • 1/2 lb. (about 1 1/2 cups) thinly sliced yellow onions
  • 2 (about 1 cup) sliced green bell peppers
  • 2 cloves mashed garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lb. firm, ripe, red tomatoes, peeled, seeded and juiced
  • 2 1/2 quart oven-proof casserole dish with lid
  • 3 TBSP minced parsley

Peel eggplant and cut into lengthwise slices 3/8" thick/3" long/1" wide.
Slice ends off zucchini and cut zucchini into slices 
the same size as eggplant.
Place vegetables into bowl and toss with salt.
Let stand 30 minutes. Drain and dry slices.

One layer at a time, saute' the eggplant, then zucchini in hot oil 
for one minute on each side to brown lightly. 
Remove to a side dish.

In the same skillet, cook the onions and peppers, 
slowly for 10 minutes, until tender, not browned. 
Stir in garlic and salt and pepper to taste.

To peel tomatoes, hold tomatoes in boiling water for 10 seconds.

Tomato skin loosens,

and is peeled off easily.

Set oven to 450 degrees.
Cut peeled tomatoes in half crosswise, not through the stem.
Squeeze each half gently to extract the seeds and juices.

Slice tomato pulp into 3/8" strips, lay them over the onions/peppers. 
Cover skillet and cook over low for 5 minutes.
Uncover and raise heat and boil until juice has almost entirely evaporated.

Layer amounts in thirds into the casserole dish: 
tomato mixture
Repeat twice more, top with parsley.

Cover casserole, and bake for 15 minutes.
Set aside, uncovered until ready to serve,
or let cool, refrigerate and serve cold.


We had high expectations from this dish.

After all, a movie had been named after it!

We anticipated tasting this famous Provence fare.

Miss S prepared this dish, 
and it took her almost the whole length of the movie to make.
So, we figured, with something that took this long,
it was bound to be good.

The scents of onion, garlic and parsley wafted throughout our home,
our tummies growled and our mouths watered.
We could NOT wait till it came out of the oven.

We all sat down, 
placed our hands together and gave thanks,
placed our napkins on our laps,
placed a forkful of French happiness to our lips.

We were not happy.
In fact, we were disappointed.
The recipe had been followed exactly, so we know it wasn't Miss S' fault.

This dish was boring, it tasted like Fajita veggies that someone 
forgot to put the cumin and chicken in.

Maybe we are too Americanized (what else would we be, right)?
But we decided that we wouldn't make this ever again.
I am sorry if I am hurting any of my European home maker friends' feelings,
especially if you love the dish!

We are veggie lovers,
but maybe not this combination of veggies.

We give this:

out of

* * * * *

Till next Saturday,
Bon Appetit, y'all!


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  1. I love these posts! I am sorry it did not turn out the way you hoped:(! Onward and upward!

    Happy Memorial Day!


  2. I love that little movie and have thought about making the dish before. The movie just makes it sound sooo good, but each time I look at photo and read over the ingredients, I just think... "ick!" Congrats on your garden!!

  3. I loved the movie, but now I know not to bother trying to make the recipe! I have never used any of Julia's cookbooks before. Maybe her next recipe will hopefully be better!

  4. That's too bad. I don't think I have ever tried ratatouille...thanks for the honest review! Your pictures were beautiful and the colors looked so pretty! We do the movie, too :)
    Hope you have a great Holiday!

  5. Well, it sure looked good. Sorry you were disappointed. Glad you tried it for us.

  6. AWWW, that's too bad!! I guess they all can't taste good. I love that movie though!

  7. Bum deal. That looks like it has awesome ingredients... especially that zucchini!

  8. First, sugar, I have to master the art of just plain cooking...or maybe I should say the art of WANTING to cook. I'd eat out 4 times a week if Love Bunny agreed. As it is, I only get 2, chick!

  9. We love the stuff, but I make it differently. All of the above ingredients, except MORE tomato and garlic. I add either fresh or dried basil, and herbs de provence to mine. Jazzes it up quite a bit. I can see how the recipe you used might be a little bland. is really good!! There also wasn't any fresh ground pepper in her recipe. With tomatoes, I always add some sugar to bring out the sweetness of the 'maters. YUM!!!

  10. it looked so good, i was all ready to try it. sad. better luck next week. i love that you've trained your sous chef so you can have a break. :)

  11. Sounds like there could be hope for it with Sue K's suggestions! That's so cool that you tried it out!

  12. Oh, how I love that movie. Always makes me hungry. I love the music in the movie too. I've never tried p'touie before but I recently watched the movie, Julie and Julia and want to get Julia Child's book.

    Miss S. seems like a great cook. :)

    Can you tell I can't get enough of your new blog design? I'm lingering. Kinda like a stalker here. ;)


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