|Place of origin||France|
|Region or state||Provence|
|Main ingredients||Vegetables, (tomatoes, onions, zucchini, eggplant, bell peppers), garlic, marjoram, basil|
|Cookbook: Ratatouille niçoise Media: Ratatouille niçoise|
||This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (May 2012)|
Ratatouille (// rat-ə-TOO-ee; French: [ʁatatuj]) is a traditional French Provençal stewed vegetable dish, originating in Nice. Though referred to commonly as ratatouille niçoise, ratatouille is popular among the entire Mediterranean coast as an easy summer dish. It is typically prepared as a stew with each vegetable being sautéed separately before being layered into a baking dish and baked.
A similar dish is found in Ottoman cuisine: in Turkish cuisine, it is called türlü. In Greece, it is known as tourlou or tourlou tourlou, or briami. The word briam(i) is related to biryani, though the dishes themselves are quite different.
The word ratatouille comes from Occitan ratatolha and the recipe comes from Occitan cuisine. Ratatouille originated in the area around present day Provence and Nice; the Catalan samfaina and the Majorcan tombet are versions of the same dish. The southern Italian ciambotta is a related spring vegetable dish.
The secret of a good ratatouille is to cook the vegetables separately so each will taste truly of itself.— Joël Robuchon, The Complete Robuchon
Ratatouille is usually served as a side dish, but may also be served as a meal on its own (accompanied by pasta, rice or bread). Tomatoes are a key ingredient, with garlic, onions, zucchini, eggplant, bell peppers, marjoram, fennel and basil, or bay leaf and thyme, or a mix of green herbs like herbes de Provence. Ratatouille can be eaten for dinner, but is also used in breakfast and lunch settings. There is much debate on how to make a traditional ratatouille. One method is simply to sauté all of the vegetables together. Some cooks, including Julia Child, insist on a layering approach, where the eggplant and the zucchini are sautéed separately, while the tomatoes, onion, garlic and bell peppers are made into a sauce. The ratatouille is then layered in a casserole – eggplant, zucchini, tomato/pepper mixture – then baked in an oven. A third method, favored by Joël Robuchon, is similar to the previous; however, the ingredients are not baked in an oven but rather recombined in a large pot and simmered. When ratatouille is used as a filling for savory crêpes or to fill an omelette, the pieces are sometimes cut smaller than in the illustration. Also, unnecessary moisture is reduced by straining the liquid with a colander into a bowl, reducing it in a hot pan, then adding one or two tablespoons of reduced liquid back into the vegetables.
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- Ratatouille. Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd edition (1989)
- Scotto, E., and Marianne Comolli. "Vegetables: A Garden of Eden." France, the Beautiful Cookbook: Authentic Recipes from the Regions of France. San Francisco: Collins, 1989. 195. Print."
- Aglaia Kremezi, Anissa Helou, "What's in the Name of a Dish? The Words Mean what the People of the Mediterranean Want them to Mean", in Richard Hosking, ed., Food and Language, Proceedings of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery 2009, Prospect Books, 2010
- Jill Dupleix, Timesonline
- Ratatouille recipe (profusely illustrated, in French)
- Another French recipe
- Robuchon, Joël (2008). The Complete Robuchon. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. p. 597. ISBN 978-0-307-26719-1.
- Stacy Finz (June 28, 2007). "Bay Area flavors food tale: For its new film 'Ratatouille,' Disney-Pixar explored our obsession with cuisine". San Francisco Chronicle.