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French Fave

Try this decidedly French favorite, with accents of Jersey Fresh and Italy.

by Jean Hecker

One of my dad’s best summer recipes was always a ratatouille. There are so many variations and he may have put a slightly Italian flair to it by adding fresh tomatoes and cannelloni beans. Still, its roots are definitely from the south of France.

In Marseilles and all of Provence this is a very popular summer dish and I just love it as a part of a vegetarian supper, served with a big hunk of French bread slathered with butter. The following is the true French version of ratatouille and I think it is the best because it showcases the simple flavors of summer produce.

Authentic French Ratatouille
1 medium eggplant sliced into 1 inch chunks
2 large green peppers and
2 large red peppers both chopped into 2 inch chunks
2 medium zucchini chopped into 1 inch chunks
1 medium onion, diced
1 heaping tbsp tomato paste
2 minced garlic cloves
1 tbsp each of dried marjoram, dried rosemary, and thyme

This first part may take time, but it’s worth it: All vegetables must be sauteed separately in one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil until just beginning to brown. Remove and add to a heavy bottomed casserole with lid. Swirl the tomato paste, dried herbs, and garlic into the mixture just before placing the casserole in oven with lid on.

Bake for two hours at 200 degrees F. Stir once or twice.

Great on grilled bread, burgers, chicken, and just about anything.

Jean Hecker has a BA in Home Economics Education from Rowan University and enjoys exploring all facets of the food and restaurant industry.

Food for Thought