- 2 Eggplants
- 6 Roma tomatoes
- 2 Yellow squashes
- 2 Zucchinis
Preparing ahead of time:
One thing they don’t tell you is how to prepare your eggplant. Every other ingredient will be flavorful, but eggplant needs to be salted beforehand. This helps draw out excess water from the eggplant itself and helps give it flavor. Eggplant is notoriously bitter-tasting to most folks, which is why it needs to be salted. Both sides of each thin slice need to be coated on both sides and allowed to sit on a cookie tray for one hour.
After these slices have been allowed to sweat, you take a paper towel and pat these dry as much as possible. After this, you’ll want to briefly pan roast these slices in a frying pan with a little bit of olive oil. Each side should be seared so that you get a pre-cooked eggplant slice that is also slightly seasoned. Each slice should be no more than one-quarter inched slices but no thicker than one-half inch.
You also want to slice your Roma tomatoes, yellow squash, and zucchini, and lay these slices on a cookie sheet to get these ready to go. You can transfer your seared eggplant onto the same cookie sheet. This way you can assemble sections of veggies that are giving a great color combination. Try using eggplant, tomato, yellow squash, and zucchini, and repeat this in stacked layers that are laid at angles in a circle like poker chips.
Gather the right seasonings:
Now, another big secret to making a truly authentic Ratatouille Nicoise is to add the provincial ingredients that were native to Nice. These will always include rosemary, basil, oregano, thyme, and Serpolet (this is also called Wild Thyme), savory, and even Lavender! These will also go into the herb sauce that’s put into your ratatouille veggies.
Making the tomato sauce:
- 1 Red bell pepper (diced)
- 1 Yellow bell pepper (diced)
- 4 cloves of garlic (chopped)
- 1 white onion (roughly diced)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp basil (8-10 leaves- thinly chopped)
- Salt and pepper (to your taste)
- 1 can crushed Roma tomatoes (795 grams/28 ounces)
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp basil (8-10 leaves- thinly chopped)
- 2 tsp fresh thyme
- 2 tsp fresh wild thyme (Serpolet)
- 2 tsp rosemary
- 1 tsp garlic (minced)
- 1 tsp Savory (optional)
- 1 tsp Lavender (optional)
- Salt and pepper (to taste)
Mix your herb sauce:In a small bowl, add all of your herbs and garlic and pour the olive oil over the top. Using a spoon, mix these together so they can begin blending together and have good olive oil coating. The minced garlic will give all of these herbs a wonderful flavor, so let this herb mixture stand at room temperature until you add it last.
Finishing your ratatouille:
First, preheat your oven to 375F degrees. In the same deep cast iron frying pan, start adding your layers of veggies that are laid into the sauce at an angle. Repeat the same color combo as mentioned before until you have an outer angled ring created that resembles fallen dominoes. Then you add an inner ring and another until your pan is completely filled. Now you can spoon-drizzle the herb sauce over the top of all your veggies.
Now take some aluminum foil and cover the top of the pan and put this into your oven for one hour. You don’t need to poke holes in the foil, so essentially you partially have a stew with veggies laid on top. For the last 20 minutes, you need to remove the foil to allow the remaining moisture out and allow your veggies to firm up a bit. Allow this to stand for 15 minutes before serving.
Daube (Marinade in Red Wine)
This dish can make up to 8 servings and should be scooped out using a large rounded serving spoon. This is so you can get some of the tomato sauce and veggies in one scoop. This can be served alone but be sure to have fresh French bread or baguettes. It also goes great with pasta. One additional tip is to top this on freshly toasted French bread and enjoy these combo flavors together. Garnish with fresh basil, parsley, or fresh herbs of your choice.
This traditional dish that has been enjoyed by the poor working class of Province was in fact, a mistake! According to a local legend, a Province peasant woman was preparing some beef with sauce in a pot for her husband. While getting carried away by talking to a next-door neighbor, she forgot about the beef and it got stuck to the bottom of the pot because it burned. She added water to the pot to unstuck the beef and went back to gossiping.
This went on for another 2 or 3 times that day, and the wife tried in vain to fix the watered-down sauce. She added red wine, tomato sauce, and more herbs and spices to mask the burnt flavor of the beef. After one final simmering, she served this to her husband fearing the worst. You can imagine her shock when he asked for seconds, exclaiming how delicious the flavors were and how incredibly tender the beef had turned out.
- 2 lbs. Beef flank (chuck/cheek, or stew meat)
- 1 bottle Province red wine
- 1 white onion (no outer skin)
- 1 carrot (sliced into 1-inch slices)
- 4 cloves garlic
- 3 clove spice
- 1 leek (add only the white part in three pieces)
- 1 celery stalk (cut in large pieces)
- 3 strips orange peel (orange zest)
- Salt and pepper (to your liking)
Preparing the marinade:This marinade is made the night before and will help to flavor your meat before it slow-cooks the next day. You’ll need to have a large bowl to put all of your ingredients. Your meat needs to be cubed into 2-inch square cubes and added to the bowl first. Open your wine and pout this into the bowl covering your meat. Then you add all of your ingredients. You will also press your garlic by pressing 2 of them and crushing the 2 others with a flat knife edge. Be sure to mix it well and cover it with plastic wrap. This should marinate for at least 8 hours and needs to be mixed 2 or 3 times while it sits in the fridge.
- 4 carrots (cut into 2-inch pieces)
- 3 shallots (finely chopped)
- 1 white onion (finely chopped)
- 1 meaty slice of smoked pork belly (diced)
- 2 tomatoes (Roma) chopped (no seeds, no skin)
- 1 cup black olives (pitted)
- 6 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp flour (all-purpose)
- Salt and pepper (for taste)
Prepare your stew:The next morning you grab an iron pot or electric crockpot to start off with your stew mixture by adding the olive oil and get your pot going with medium heat. While this warms up, remove the marinated meat and put these pieces into a strainer that sits above your marinade. When your pot is warm enough, add your onions and shallots to get them to sweat. When they get glassy, you can add your diced pork belly and sauté this for 3 minutes. Add your tablespoon of flour slowly and mix this with a wooden spoon. Now, this is when you can add your tomatoes, and salt, and pepper. From your marinade liquid, you take out the celery stalks and leeks so they aren’t in this mixture anymore. Now you add the entire marinade and its remaining ingredients to your pot. Raise the heat to boil for one minute and then down to simmer. It’s better if you have a pot that can be put over stovetop heat. You can’t do this easily with an electric crockpot, so you might need to transfer this into a different cooking pot to get a good starting boil. After you have your initial boil, you can now add your beef to the liquid and let this simmer for the next 5 to 7 hours. In the last two hours, you can then add your stew carrots and olives. Check on your stew throughout the entire time to make sure the liquid doesn’t totally boil away. So keeping it covered for most of this period is a very good idea. You can have a lid that allows steam to escape, or prop your wooden spoon at the edge of your lid. If you want to add other bits of meat that you’ve marinated, these can be stewed as well. Pressure cookers can cook your meat faster, but you do need to monitor the temp setting carefully.
This stew will serve up to 6 people and should be served up in a large soup bowl while it is nice and hot. As a side dish, you can also provide steamed potatoes, mashed potatoes, and freshly boiled macaroni or pasta. You may also have some fresh bread such as flatbread, baguettes, or French bread.