A classic side dish with meat such as steak or leg of lamb from the Provence in the south of France is ratatouille. Here’s my version that I made today to go with a ‘warm aged’ rib steak cooked sous-vide. It seems a lot of work to sauté the vegetables individually, but since you are sautéing one vegetable while you are preparing the next one, it doesn’t take a lot more time. By sautéing the vegetables individually, the flavors will stand out more.
For 4 servings as a side
1 eggplant (aubergine)
1 zucchini (courgette)
1 red pepper
500 grams ripe tomatoes, peeled or 1 can (400 grams) peeled tomatoes
sprig of thyme
1 clove garlic
1 bay leaf
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Wash and dry the zucchini. Cut the ends off and cut into cubes. Sauté for 5 minutes in 2 tbsp of olive oil.
Meanwhile, wash and dry the red pepper. Remove the seeds and cut into cubes. Remove the zucchini from the pan and clean the pan. Sauté the red pepper for 5 minutes in 2 tbsp of olive oil.
Meanwhile, wash and dry the eggplant or peel it, depending on whether you like the eggplant skin in your ratatouille or not. Cut off both ends and cut into cubes. Remove the red pepper from the pan and clean the pan. Sauté the eggplant for 5 minutes in 4 tbsp of olive oil. (You could salt the eggplant in advance to make it easier to fry as described in this recipe.)
Meanwhile, clean the onion and chop it. Clean the garlic and mince it. Remove the eggplant from the pan and clean the pan. Sauté the onion in 2 tbsp olive oil until translucent. Add thyme, bay leaf, and garlic and sauté for 1 minute more.
Add tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini and red pepper. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Break the tomatoes into pieces with a spatula and mix. Let simmer uncovered over low heat for 60-90 minutes, uncovered, stirring now and then to prevent the ratatouille from sticking to the bottom of the pan and burning. Cook 60 minutes if you like your ratatouille more ‘al dente’ or 90 minutes if you like it softer.
Discard the bay leaf and the thyme spring (the leaves will probably have fallen off but you can leave those in). Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Ratatouille can be served hot or at room temperature.