Ratatouille is a vegetable side dish made, usually, of tomatoes, eggplants, zucchini, red onion, and red pepper. Depending on preparation, the vegetables are either all stewed together or layered in rounds and baked.
This healthy and light side dish originated in Nice, France around the 18th century. It was considered food for peasants and farmers, as it was a recipe created to use up all the vegetables that were ripe and ready to eat at once.These days, it is considered a fancy dish that is served in the finest restaurants in France.
Prepare The Bottom Layer - Using a 12” cast iron skillet, add a can of crushed tomatoes and spread until the entire bottom is coated and add the seasonings.
Assemble the Vegetables: Use the vegetable rounds to form a pattern. I placed the slices in the following order: zucchini, tomatoes, eggplant, red pepper, red onion, repeat.
Once the pattern is complete, sprinkle another salt and chopped garlic on top of the vegetables. Bake until the vegetables are softened.
The red onion slices are a little difficult to work with but when placing the slices in order, I would place the layers, then quickly add the next vegetable slice in order. Once you have completed the circle, the red onion slices will stay nicely.
Sometimes the slices that you cut of the larger vegetables (ex: eggplants) are a lot larger than the slices you cut of the smaller vegetables (ex: zucchini). To get them to be relatively the same height, I would cut the eggplant slices into quarters, then chop off the tip of the quarter so that it would sit flat. This made the vegetables fit a lot better!
Feel free to add any other vegetables into this recipe that you think would be delicious!
These days, ratatouille is a side dish recipe that is eaten alongside meat or fish. I recommend my Beef Bourguignon!