I had a chance to visit Provence last year, and even though it was cool and rainy, the French Riviera was still magical, the Rose wines were blissful, and the seafood and vegetables that the South of France is known for made my heart sing. Inspired by this, and the plethora of Rose wines that I have been enjoying lately, we made this incredible ratatouille the other evening, really from the vegetables we had in our fridge. Though, to be a true traditionalist, great olive oil is required, as are eggplants, squash, peppers and juicy, fresh tomatoes. Serve with a simply grilled piece of white fish or salmon. Pair with a fresh Rose wine with just a hint of color like barely pink Mas de Cadenet from Provence, or another favorite, Domaine Ott.
1 large eggplant, or 3 small Japanese eggplants (we used these, and prefer them as they don’t have as many seeds and the skin is a bit softer), stems removed and chopped1 yellow, orange or red pepper, seeded and chopped
1 large zucchini squash, stem removed and chopped
3 ripe tomatoes, cored and chopped (keep the seeds and as much juice as possible)
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons quality very fresh olive oil
1/4 cup white or red wine
pinch red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped basil
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
salt and pepper
Optional: capers, olives, additional herbs like tarragon or mint, additional veggies like yellow squash, green peppers, carrots, celery
Add 3 tablespoons olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and pepper, and begin to saute. Cook for about 5 minutes until soft then add the squash, eggplant and garlic, stirring to combine. Cook for another 2-3 minutes, then add the tomatoes, red pepper flakes and season with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook another 3 minutes then add the wine. Cook out. Then the splash of vinegar and soft herbs. Cook another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally and add in capers or olives, if using. Spoon on to a large platter with a scatter of herbs and a drizzle of the last tablespoon of olive oil.