Thursday, July 26, 2007

Clothilde Dusoulier's Oven-Roasted Ratatouille

In June, I wrote about Pixar's delightful new summer movie: Ratatouille. I loved it, and I am happy to see that I am not the only one!

Of course, while leaving the movie theatre, I realized that I was going to crave ratatouille until I could get my hands on some zucchini. Lucky for me, Pixar timed the movie's release perfectly: midsummer marks the beginning of zucchini season in New England, and without fail, gardens and farmers' markets are flooded with the shiny, delicately flavoured fruits (yep- biologically speaking, they're both squash and fruit). The farm (as we call it) is fabulous when it comes to strategic planting, and last week the eggplant, zucchini and summer squash made their first appearances together at the weekly pickup tables. The lily-white summer onions are coming out in full force, so we took home a huge bunch of them as well.

I knew just what to do.

Last summer, after an uncomfortable evening spent making a very traditional version on a hot stovetop, I stumbled across an easy recipe that immediately became the only ratatouille recipe I will ever use: Clothilde Dusoulier's Ratatouille Confite au Four (Oven-Roasted Ratatouille).

I omit the green peppers, substitute a mix of regular and cherry tomatoes, double the onions, and add summer squash.

Just as Clothilde* says, roasting with a bit of salt gives everything a gorgeous savoury-sweet flavour, with a good texture and no trace of mushiness. And she's absolutely right- the flavour of this ratatouille improves the next day, and the day after that, which means it's a perfect make-ahead dish when you're having lunch or dinner guests. If you have an overabundance of zucchini, or even if you don't, I recommend trying her recipe. You just might find yourself eating it all summer long!

* I don't know her personally, but I feel a bit silly calling her "Ms. Dusoulier"! I hope she doesn't mind...

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