Friday, March 2, 2012

Word of the Week: Ratatouille

Originating from France, Nice, Ratatouille (pronounced Rat-ter-too-ee) is essentially a vegetable stew. Touiller means to toss food. Hmm...any link with the traditional Chinese New Year salad tossing??

Joel Robuchon, holder of the most Michelin stars for his chain of restaurants in the world, says the secret to a good Ratatouille is to cook the vegetables separately so each will taste truly of itself. Tomatoes form the key ingredient accompanied with garlic, onions, zuchinni, bell peppers, and a mix of fresh green herbs. The short cut way is to saute all at one go but I've found the Robuchon advice to be sound and worth the effort.

In the dish above, I sauteed the vegetables separately, simmered them in a tomato paste for 10-15 minutes, then layered them in a ramekin and baked in an oven at 180C for another 10-15 minutes. For this effort, I was rewarded with a bowl of tasty, nutritional goodness.

I made 2 sunny eggs and this little meal filled me for more than 6 hours!

To me, the Ratatouille must have 2 things: One, the dried tomato paste on the top edges of the ramekin and two, the spillage on the outside walls - for that complete rustic provencal finish! Oh, and of course, I thoroughly enjoyed Ratatouille the movie too ; )

Click here to see a very pretty ratatouille.

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