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Michel Richard's RATATOUILLE recipe - National Gallery of Art Buffet

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Chef Carlos de Souza was kind enough to provide me with the ratatouille recipe from the current Garden Café buffet at the National Gallery of Art, the menu for which was created by Michel Richard. It is really an outstanding recipe, and a hint of sunnier climes!

Here it is:

Ratatouille
serves 4

1 medium-large eggplant; peeled, sliced 1/2" thick and cubed
2 medium-large zucchini; scrubbed, halved lengthwise and sliced 1/4" thick
1 large yellow onion; sliced and diced (not too small)
1 bell pepper; sliced and diced 1" long pieces (any color is fine)
1 28oz can diced tomatoes; drained (drink the tomato juice, it's awesome)
1 - 3 cloves of garlic; minced
olive oil; as much as you desire
sea salt
freshly ground pepper

In a large skillet, heat about 4 tablespoons olive oil on medium high heat. When the oil is hot, add all the eggplant. Season with salt and toss to coat well with oil. Try to toss and NOT STIR! Watch the eggplant carefully, tossing often so it roasts to a deep golden brown but doesn't burn. Be patient with the oil as it will take a little while to be fully absorbed when you first put the eggplant in the skillet but as it roasts it will all be absorbed and eventually, you will end up with 2 - 3 tablespoons of olive oil in the bottom of your skillet. You can carefully remove the eggplant with a skimmer and place it into a bowl to await the rest of the cooked vegetables and keep the oil for the next vegetable.

Put the zucchini in the skillet next. Once again, season with salt and watch carefully as it roasts thoroughly but does not burn! Remove the zucchini and place in a bowl to wait. You can put it in the same bowl as the eggplant. If you have enough oil left in the bottom of your skillet after removing the zucchini there is no need to add some, however, if you need to, you may add another tablespoon or so for the cooking of the onion.

Put the onion in the skillet next. Season and roast until golden brown. Be really careful with the onion as it can burn and turn into hard and unpleasant pieces. Remove the onion and add it to your bowl of cooked veggies.

Add a little olive oil to your skillet for the bell pepper. Season and roast. Now, this is the most difficult vegetable to roast because it resists roasting and goes right to burning so watch this one like a hawk lest you want burned bell pepper in your ratatouille! Keep the heat medium low, it may take a little longer but the results are better.

Finally, return all the roasted vegetable to your skillet, you may have to find a larger one if it doesn't all fit! Add the tomatoes and the minced, fresh garlic. Season with several turns of fresh ground pepper and stir the ratatouille so all the ingredients blend well. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 30 - 45 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally. The veggies in the bottom of the skillet should start to caramelize. This gives the ratatouille its amazing flavor. And you're done! I like to eat this ratatouille hot, with a pasta or couscous but he prefers eating it cold right out of the fridge when he gets home late at night from the restaurant. So, make sure you make enough to have some left over!

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Hey what a classy chef, huh?! Thanks Chef de Souza! Happy New Year.

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  1. Hopefully, it'll help console me once the buffet ends. Can't wait to cook it for myself. Have always been disappointed with every other ratatouille recipe I've tried!

    ETA: When I went last week, I distinctly remember there being yellow squash instead of zucchini, so I think a lot of the vegetables are easily substituted?

    3 Replies
    1. re: yfunk3

      yellow squash could certainly be subbed for zucchini; in fact, i think i'd like the yellow squash even more. it is odd that they are getting yellow squash now, but i guess that it is coming from south america? or maybe it is growing in south florida. (i know they get a winter crop of tomatoes there).

      1. re: alkapal

        A lovely simple ratatouille recipe, it's a nice burst of summer in the middle of winter. I actually like both zucchini and summer squash in mine. "eating it cold right out of the fridge when he (she, or me) gets home late at night from the restaurant" -word. Great in an omelet also.

        Yes, the yellow squash is most likely coming from Florida or Mexico, both areas being major producers of tender summer vegetables, tomatoes and strawberries, in the dead of winter for the rest of us. Along with stone fruits and berries coming in from Chile, all available right now in my local supermarket for not much moola, although I worry about the carbon foot print thing.

        1. re: bushwickgirl

          and the cool thing about eating ratatouille is that you feel that you are getting great flavor PLUS great nutrition PLUS not many calories (depending on the oil, of course).

          cold, room temp, warm -- it is indeed all good. i like the omelet idea!

    2. this is michel richard's personal family recipe.
      ~~~~~~~
      >>>>"""" The veggies in the bottom of the skillet should start to caramelize. This gives the ratatouille its amazing flavor.""""<<<<

      i'm told that the secret is to ALMOST burn the bottom of the veg mix in the heavy pot, just so it gets the extra flavor. ALMOST is the key.

      1. Just a few minutes ago I was wondering what I could make for dinner that would be healthy but still warming, since snow is on its way in DC. This might be just the solution!