My husband is from Provence. His mother is from Provence. Her parents were from Provence. Their parents were from Provence… You get the idea. So, my mother-in-law’s recipe for ratatouille, a Provençal vegetable stew, is pretty darned authentic. Not to mention delicious.
I look forward to summer every year so that I can make ratatouille at least once a week until the courgettes run out. It’s easy, versatile, fairly quick and just delicious. We have it with panisse (crispy, deep-fried slices of chickpea batter from Marseille) with fish, chicken, sausages, pork…
You could even (and this may sound strange) serve it with a fried egg. My husband’s Mamie did this and, I have to say, it’s excellent.
I make mine in the instant pot because it’s nice and quick, but you can make it on the hob too; just cook until all of the vegetables have collapsed.
This recipe serves 3 or 4 people, depending on how hungry you are. You can easily make more or less, just remember that you need not very much aubergine in relation to the courgettes. That is the key, according to my mother-in-law, and she knows what she’s doing.
100g lardons or bacon chopped into small pieces (optional but recommended)
1 medium onion
2 large or 3 medium courgettes
1 small to medium aubergine
3 tomatoes or 1 400g tin of tomatoes
Black pepper and salt, to taste
A little olive oil
Peel the tomatoes, courgettes and aubergine.
Dice the onion and tomatoes and slice the vegetables. The thinner you slice, the quicker they’ll cook. For the instant pot, I recommend slices of about 3-4mm.
Fry the lardons until crispy (using the sauté function on the instant pot) then add the onions and a little oil if necessary. Cook until the onion is translucent.
Add in all of the other vegetables and the thyme and give it a good stir.
If using the instant pot, put on the lid, set the valve to closed and select the pressure cook function. Set the timer for five minutes (or more if your vegetables are sliced thickly). At the end of the cooking time, use manual release to release the pressure.
For the hob, put on the lid and cook for about half an hour until the vegetables have collapsed, stirring occasionally.
Add salt and pepper to taste and a drizzle of olive oil.