The recipe for this gloriously colourful and flavoursome ratatouille is from my book The Cook's Garden (New Holland) and was originally given to me by poet Kate Llewellyn. The addition of fresh fennel and ginger lend both aroma and flavour to this classic French vegetable dish.
You'l find it's even better the next day, served warm, cold or at room temperature, and will feed an army.
- Prep Time : 30 minutes
- Cook Time : 2h 00 min
- Yield : 10-12
- olive oil - 150ml
- brown onions - 4, peeled and coarsely chopped
- garlic - 10 cloves, peeled and bruised
- green capsicum (sweet green pepper) - 1, seeded and sliced
- red capsicums (sweet peppers) - 2, seeded and sliced (or use one red and one yellow)
- zucchini - 5, sliced
- eggplants (skin on) - 2 large, cut into chunks
- fennel bulbs - 2, sliced
- black peppercorns - a few
- coriander seeds - 1 tablespoon
- fennel seeds - 2 teaspoons
- ripe tomatoes - 6, peeled and chopped
- fresh basil - 1 bunch, washed and chopped
- medium red or green chillies - 1-2, chopped (optional)
- bayleaf - 1
- ginger - 1 tablespoon, grated
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan or casserole. Add the onions and cook gently until they soften. Don't allow them to brown.
Add the garlic and capsicums and let soften. Add the zucchini, eggplant and fennel and simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the tomatoes, spices and herbs.
Turn down the heat and continue cooking the ratatouille very slowly, for a couple of hours (a simmer pad is useful). Let the vegetable meld slowly together without losing their shape - keep an eye on them as you don't want them to become mushy.