Where I am currently on holiday in a small beach town in France, I’m surrounded by fresh produce. The indoor market opens every day and inside you can buy fresh fruit, vegetables, cheese, bread, patisserie, meat, fish and seafood as well as ready prepared dishes like stews, lasagne and soups, by the portion. Then the outdoor market is also open two mornings a week with more food stalls, as well as stalls selling clothes and bags. So there is no excuse not to eat the seasonal produce which is all around me!
All the vegetables look just so fresh and tasty, it is impossible not to feel inspired to cook. Here is my recipe for baked ratatouille inspired by the local-grown courgettes, aubergines, peppers, tomatoes and garlic that are abundant everywhere you turn.
The traditional way to make ratatouille is as a stewed vegetable dish in a tomato sauce. Ratatouille originates from Provence in the South of France, in Nice to be precise. This version takes the signature vegetables of the traditional ratatouille dish (I omitted onions here though!) and combines them in a baked dish instead. The colours and textures of the vegetables are so bright and eye-catching, and layering them in a baking dish is simple but effective.
Just look at that red pepper and tomatoes, yellow tomato (from the big yellow beef type tomato in the previous photo, which was sold as a pineapple tomato!), green courgette, and black aubergine. Drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper, basil and plenty of chopped garlic, it is simple and delicious. Serve as a side dish if you like or make it the centre of your meal with French bread, cheese and wine to accompany it!
Even if your summer isn’t as sunny as the South of France – here in the West of France it is very windy at times! – this is the perfect dish to bring the sunshine into your kitchen. Leftovers will be enjoyed cold tomorrow on top of halved slices of baguette rubbed with oil and garlic. Mmmmm.
Even before cooking this dish is already bright and colourful and looks good enough to eat.
Onto the recipe. It is very easy of course, I’m including this one the blog as a way to remember the summer and a dish that was so delicious!
- 1 large aubergine
- 1 large courgette
- 1 red pepper
- 3-4 large plum tomatoes
- 1 large yellow tomato you will use half, have the other half in a salad
- 2 large cloves of garlic chopped
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper to season
- 1 tsp dried basil or fresh if you have it
- Slice the vegetables into equal sized pieces.
- Arrange the vegetables in an oven dish. I did two slices of aubergine, two slices of courgette next to each other, then one piece of red pepper, yellow tomato and red tomato all next to each other, then repeated the pattern.
- Sprinkle over the garlic, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, sprinkle over the dried basil.
- Bake at 180 degrees for 40-45 minutes until cooked through. If needed drizzle over more olive oil half way through the cooking time.
What’s your favourite recipe to remind you of summer? How do you use all the fresh summer vegetables?