The best ratatouille I have ever had was at my favorite restaurant, a little French place tucked away in the Windsor Terrace area of Brooklyn, called Le Paddock. They are just the best! If you are anywhere near that area, you must give them a visit! They have the best mussels and their lamb burger is TO DIE FOR. Admittedly not very vegan per se, but if you’re going to be eating meat it better be mind-blowing. This restaurant, and their damn ratatouille, is likely the only thing I miss about Brooklyn. So I have long been trying to re-create the glory of their particular spin on this classic dish.
And I think I finally nailed it!
It’s surprising how hard it was to find a good ratatouille recipe on the internet! It’s the internet, after all. You would think there should be easy consensus on the hands-down best ratatouille recipe, but not true. In fact, if there’s one thing I learned recently, it’s that with the ease of self-publishing on the internet, it becomes harder to assess the quality of the content, especially when it comes to recipes. I have found so many drastic differences in ratatouille recipes; some are baked, some have mushrooms and loads of onions (ew), some call for tomato sauce….all things I know deep in my heart don’t belong in any self-respecting melt-in-your-mouth ratatouille dish. Oh, and parmesan cheese! Get out!! This dish, done properly, perfectly stands on its own without the need for cheese. I have tried the different versions, been disappointed, and finally found one that does it right. The secret, I discovered, is tomatoes. The vegetables have to slow-cook for an hour in the juices of fresh tomatoes, that’s what brings out the magic! Pshhhhht tomato sauce, puhlease.
Another benefit of this recipe, is that I now know how to properly cook eggplant! That sucker has been my nemesis for a while, but this is the trick for getting your eggplant to cook at the same rate as your better-behaved zucchinis and yellow squashes: toss it with salt and let it soak/drain in a colander for 20-30 minutes to soften up. Voilà! It will now much more readily turn into its luscious moist, juicy version of itself. On to the main event…