Whenever I cook a ratatouille, my kitchen smells like a Provençal market, filled with Mediterranean scents. Even though ratatouille is a grand classic French dish, you won’t often come across it in the restaurant menus. This is a true ‘home-cooked’ meal, to be eaten in the best traditional way, with a golden fried egg on top. I always feel invigorated when I cook this meal, not only is the scent uplifting, but the deep and rich colours of the mixed vegetables give you a sense of culinary wisdom – as if your body was a temple and you are about to make a healthy offering.
Ingredients: (serves 4)
2 medium-sized onions, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
1 green pepper, sliced
3 courgettes/zucchini, sliced
1 large aubergine/eggplant, cut into cubes
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely sliced
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
40 ml red wine (optional)
4 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
Slice all the vegetables accordingly.
Heat the olive oil in a large pan and cook the onions until they are transparent. Add the peppers and cook for 3 minutes. Then add aubergine, courgettes, garlic, thyme and bay leaf, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 3 minutes. Finally, add the chopped tomatoes and the red wine (optional), stir gently, cover and cook for 25 minutes on a low heat.
Serve with a fried egg, sunny-side up.
Note: Fresh thyme makes a world of difference for this dish.