Most probably, when hearing the word ratatouille, most people think of the movie with the same name, and like me, for a while, they believe it is the cute rodent’s name (which is not, it is Remy, by the way, as I kept repeating to myself, so I do not forget it). Ratatouille is the name of a traditional French recipe that, just like in the movie, it is a combination of vegetables that is simply wonderful in taste.
If you are a fan of French recipes, and Provencal recipes, in particular, you may have tried making ratatouille once or twice, and, with the popularity of the movie, I am pretty sure more people have fallen in love with traditional French cuisine. At first glance, this recipe may look like nothing special, since it is basically just a stew (that you can also bake in the oven) made with vegetables. But I am not here to give you a basic ratatouille recipe, but a few hinters from my grandma who had her own reasons of shaking her head when she watched the movie. So, I am now sharing with you what my grandma really thinks one should be aware of when making ratatouille.
One thing that my grandma really insists on when cooking ratatouille is cooking each vegetable separately. Of course, this is more time consuming, but I can assure you that when you taste each piece of vegetable, it will melt in your mouth and you will know exactly what you taste. So, my grandma’s advice is to peel and chop all the veggies, roast them a little so they become a little soft, and only after that combine them so that they all have the same creamy texture that blends easily. I found my grandma’s advice to be quite handy any time I have someone over and I want to impress them with my ratatouille recipe, learned straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak.
Another thing that my grandma really insists on is to always use Provencal spices. What is the point of preparing a Provencal recipe without adding the real taste of Provence? This is what she used to say to me, and I cannot agree more even now, as we speak. You may have heard about Herbes de Provence, and I can guarantee that they are a real thing. In case you cannot find a mix sold at the local store where you live, I suggest making your own blend of savory, marjoram, rosemary, thyme and oregano. Keep the blend in a lidded container, and you can use it on many Provencal recipes, and not just ratatouille.
Finally, the last thing my grandma is keen on when cooking ratatouille is to go for the traditional way, of stirring up the stew and cooking it on open flame, and not in the oven. Again, it is more time consuming this way, but if you want to go for the traditional way of making ratatouille, this is the way.