Ratatouille is one of the easiest vegetable dishes you will ever make — its basically all of your favorite vegetables thrown together in a pot and sautéed until they become soft and luscious, their flavors melding together beautifully.
Usually the dish is made with eggplant, zucchini, peppers, tomatoes and onion, but in this iteration I replaced the eggplant with yellow summer squash for a lighter flavor and brighter color. This is a French dish that is traditionally flavored with a combination of fresh herbs including marjoram, thyme and basil, but sometimes I prefer to use my own blend of spices. Once you understand how to put the vegetables together, you can really experiment with the flavor profile and spice components.
Some chef’s will cook this dish by sautéing each vegetable separately and then bringing them all together in a pot to finish. That allows the vegetables to all be cooked to their appropriate doneness without overcooking anything. For me, a much easier way to do this is to just layer in the vegetables according to the time they need to cook. I start with onions because I want them to be meltingly soft and then I add green peppers followed by the zucchini and squash. Finally, when all of the vegetables are at a similar level of doneness I finish with the canned tomatoes which only need a few minutes to cook.
In this dish I really want the vegetables to shine so I picked a neutral, firm white fish and cooked it simply by steaming it atop the ratatouille.
- 2 fillets of white fish
- 1 zuchinni, cut into ½ inch chunks
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 yellow squash, cut into ½ inch chunks
- 1 green pepper, cut into ½ inch chunks
- 4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
- 1 15 oz can of whole tomatoes, roughly chopped
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- 1½ teaspoons paprika
- ¼ teaspoon of cayenne
- 1 teaspoon of cumin
- salt and pepper
- olive oil
- In a large skillet, over medium heat, sauté the onions in olive oil for 5 minutes until they are soft and translucent. Add the garlic, paprika, oregano, cumin, cayenne and two generous pinches of salt. Sauté for 1 additional minute.
- Add the green peppers and sauté for 2 minutes, Add the zucchini and squash and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the tomatoes and cook for 3 more minutes. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.
- Lightly season the fish with salt and pepper and place the fish into the pan, resting on top of the vegetables. Lower the heat to medium-low, cover the pan with a lid and allow to cook for 7-10 minutes until the fish is cooked through.
- Serve hot.