Carolyne Kauser-AbbottProvencal RecipesSide DishTaste

Make a Ratatouille Version from Nice – La Ratatouia Nissarda

Dishes such as ratatouille, pan bagnat, panisse, soup au pistou, and salade Niçoise appear on menus throughout the South of France. Many cooks have time-tested variations on these recipes, which may be delicious, but don’t quite follow the Cuisine Nissarde traditions. Although ratatouille is known around the globe, the authentic version requires the freshest ingredients and the patience to cook each vegetable separately. We translated the following recipe for La Ratatouia Nissarda with the permission of the Office de Tourisme Métropolitain Nice Côte d’Azur. Some versions of ratatouille call for vegetables cut into small dice, but this recipe leaves the ingredients in larger pieces.

This version of ratatouille comes from Carnets de cuisine du Comté de Nice, a cookbook (in French) that you can purchase the book online at Amazon or at the Office de Tourisme Métropolitain Nice Côte d’Azur.

Cuisine Nissarde of Nice couve livre

What is Cuisine Nissarde?

Le Cercle de la Capelina d’Or, a dedicated group of culinary experts, established the “Cuisine Nissarde” label in 1995. The Tourism Office now manages the brand, but the concept remains the same a dedication to promoting the historical cuisine of Nice. Restaurateurs serving traditional dishes with local ingredients are awarded the label and allowed to display the icon. This distinction rewards chefs who use quality, seasonal ingredients in their traditional recipes.

The Tourist Office website maintains a current list of establishments meeting the Cuisine Nissarde.

Ratatouille Nice Ratatouia Nissarda

Niçoise Ratatoille - La Ratatouia Nissarda

Carnets de cuisine du Comté de Nice
The secret of a good ratatouille is to fry each vegetable separately before the onion and tomato are added. The talented cook obtains a mixture of tender vegetables and not oily mush. Prepare ratatouille in large quantities because it can be eaten hot or cold. Serve as a main course with meat or fish, a side dish, or an omelette. While ratatouille can be eaten cold, it is best reheated.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Cuisine Nissarde, French, Provencal
Servings 8 people

Ingredients
 
 

  • 2.2 lbs Tomatoes
  • 4 large White or Yellow Onions
  • Anchovy puree or pissalat
  • 4 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 3/4 lbs Eggplants long Japanese ariety
  • 1 Red Pepper
  • 1 Yellow Pepper
  • 2.2 lbs Baby Zucchini sometimes these are sold with the flowers
  • Thyme
  • Bay Leaf
  • 2 Cloves placed in an onion which will be removed at the end of cooking
  • 1 tbsp Sugar
  • 1 dose of saffron
  • 3 sprigs of Parsley chopped
  • a few Olives pitted
  • fresh Basil
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper

Instructions
 

First, prepare all the vegetables:

  • Peel and chop three of the four onions. Peel the fourth onion but leave it whole.
  • Cut the eggplant into thin (1/3 inch, 1 cm) slices, cut them lightly with a sharp knife and sprinkle them with fine salt and allow the pieces to "sweat" for about 20 minutes to drain the bitter juices. Once the eggplant begins to sweat, rinse off the salt and pat dry before frying.
  • Score the tomato skin, dip them in boiling water for 30 seconds to 1 minute and peel.
  • Remove the seeds from the peppers and cut them into thin strips.
  • Cut the courgettes into medium slices.
  • Peel the garlic and cut it into thin slices.

Start cooking:

  • In a large cast-iron casserole dish, fry the onion in olive oil seasoned with a little anchovy puree or pissalat. Add a sprig of thyme and freshly ground pepper.
  • Stir with a wooden spoon. Before the onion starts to brown, add the crushed tomato pulp, bay leaf, parsley, saffron, cloves stuck in an onion, and sugar to remove the acidity of the tomato.
  • In one or more frying pans, fry the eggplant (10 minutes), the peppers (10 minutes), and the courgettes (5 minutes). Season with salt and pepper and remove the excess oil by draining the vegetables on a paper towel before placing them in the tomato sauce in the casserole dish.
  • Cover the mixture with baking paper (foil or parchment) and seal the pot with the lid. Simmer for 40 to 45 minutes, preferably in the oven at 150°(300° F)/180° C (350° F).
  • Adjust the seasoning at the end of the cooking time. You can add pitted olives just before serving with a little fresh basil.

Variations:

  • You can omit the cloves.
  • You can also simply finish cooking on low heat in the closed casserole. Some old Niçois used to fry a nice piece of blanched small salt codfish at the same time as the onion for 10 minutes to have a complete summer dish.

Notes

What is pissalat? Pissalat (sauce): Pissalat (from Nice peis salat, which means "salted fish") is an ancient Niçoise sauce, of which we find variations throughout the Mediterranean region since the Romans and which has almost completely disappeared from the shelves since WWII. It is essential in the making of the pissaladière.
Keyword Eggplant, Peppers, Tomatoes, Zucchini
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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Carolyne Kauser-Abbott

Carolyne Kauser-Abbott

With her camera and laptop close at hand, Carolyne has traded in her business suits for the world of freelance writing and blogging. Her first airplane ride at six months of age was her introduction to the exciting world of travel.

While in Provence, Carolyne can be found hiking with friends, riding the hills around the Alpilles or tackling Mont Ventoux. Her attachment to the region resonates in Perfectly Provence this digital magazine that she launched in 2014. This website is an opportunity to explore the best of the Mediterranean lifestyle (food & wine, places to stay, expat stories, books on the region, travel tips, real estate tips and more), through our contributors' articles.

Carolyne writes a food and travel blog Ginger and Nutmeg. Carolyne’s freelance articles can be found in Global Living Magazine, Avenue Magazine and City Palate (Published Travel Articles).

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