Farmer’s Market Ratatouille



It’s not very often that I get up enough chutzpah to contradict Julia Child, but in the case of ratatouille I really have to take a stand.  


Photo by Joanna Hamblin


Child’s version of ratatouille requires the careful separate cooking of each vegetable, before layering the elements in a casserole for slow simmering.  Now, I have no doubt that this time-consuming stew is lovely, and full of exciting textures.  But if we’re going for authenticity, I have to point out that in all my time in France I never once met any home cook who made ratatouille in this way.  All of the French moms I know simply throw the veggies in a big pot, turn the heat to low, and stir every so often.  That’s it.  In fact, the word ratatouille apparently comes from the French touiller, which means “to stir”.  Yes, stir – not arrange in fussy little layers.  

dedham farmers market tomatoes

Photo by Joanna Hamblin


I love our local Dedham Farmer’s Market. Thanks to the farmer’s market manager, Joanna Hamblin (who happens to take some lovely photos), you can see how fantastic our market has been this summer.  The richness of the market is something of a blessing and a curse.  I get so excited about the overflowing stalls of veggies and fruits and jams and breads that I generally come home lugging so much more than Jeff and I can manage to eat in a week.  But ratataouille to the rescue!  I’ve been making huge batches of this stuff. We’ve been having ratatouille with dinner over grilled chicken or on swordfish kebabs, or for a simple lunch with warm pita.  Sometimes I toss it with pasta and a bit of goat cheese, or use it as a filling for omelets.  And lately I’ve been loving ramekins half-filled with ratatouille, topped with an egg, and baked until the white sets.  With a bit of baguette this is just about the best summer meal imaginable.  

farmers market

Photo by Joanna Hamblin


If you don’t have herbes de Provence on hand, feel free to use equal amounts of basil, savory, and fennel.  In fact, pretty much anything goes in this forgiving stew.  The recipe is not set in stone, but you can find my favorite version here in this month’s Cozy, Delicious column in the Dedham Transcript, on 



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37 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. It looks absolutely to die for!

  2. I don’t know what the secret it, but you are tantalizing me….

    Where on earth or on the internet is this recipe for ratatouille? Could you provide a simple link?



    • Hi Norine!
      If you click the “here” in the last sentence of the post you will find the recipe!

  3. Ha! I love that you take Julia down on this one–who has the time for all of that separating and sauteeing? I’m all for the big dump-a-rooney into a pot…delicious!

  4. Mmmm great use of the summer’s bounty. I’m with you on the fussy arranging thing. I’m all about making complicated sounding foods simple without sacrificing flavour:-)

  5. Oh, it sounds delicious…and looks gorgeous. And yeah…I love the dump, too!!! mmmmmm…..

  6. I love the sound of the egg baked in ratatouille- I’ll have to make some just so I can do this! Yum!

  7. Julia had great flair in the kitchen, but she definitely did things the long way. She had a little more time than the rest of us. 🙂 Your way works too!

    • If only I had as much time to play around in the kitchen… in fact, Julia’s version of ratatouille is on my recipe ‘to do’ list. But it’s been there for years!

  8. I agree; we do it here all the time and don’t bother with the separate cooking of each ingredients!

  9. Wow, could you imagine having to cook every vegetable separately, what a major pain that would be. I much prefer your version to Julia’s, and it happens to look delicious and colourful.
    Have a great day.
    *kisses* HH

  10. This is just the perfect summer farmer’s market meal. A little of everything!

  11. Love this recipe! What a wonderful way to use all the delicious summer produce. What a beautiful, and beautifully written, blog.

  12. I love ratatouille and pasta, but I have never tried it with egg. I bet it’s great, though!

    • To me there is no better marriage than ratatouille and eggs in any form. I think the rich yolk and the bright veggies are awesome together. Sometimes I even melt a tiny bit of cheese on top of the cracked egg too… yum!

  13. I love ratatouille! My husband makes it the way Julia did; but he was working in restos and he is a maniac:) me – it depend on how much time I have…for sure, ratatouille cooked Julia has more grease…
    Bon apetit ! Very nice ratatouille !

    • Thanks Magdalena! See… another benefit to tossing it all in a big pot together – less oil!

  14. Way to go! This looks delicious and sounds much easier than Julia’s way! She must’ve just had too much time on her hands sometimes. I’m new here and really like your blog!

    • Hi Pam! Glad you stopped in. Yes, I do think she must have had loads of time… I only wish I had time to saute every veggie by itself!

  15. I am just like you in that I get overly excited at the farmer’s market and pick up way too much. I think a Ratatouille is going to be on the menu at my house this week, because my husband I will be away for 3 weeks and I hate throwing food away.

    Yours looks lovely!

  16. Your ratatouille looks fabulous! Bless Julia, but there are several things in that cookbook of hers that deserved a lot less space. She’s my idol but sometimes I wonder if she got paid by the word. LOL

  17. My garden’s zucchini are currently taking over my entire house- good reminder that chocolate zucchini cake is not the only way to get rid of them. Of course, I’ll still need to keep chocolate chips around the house…

  18. cute post, I doubt Julia would be mad,


  19. Very interesting. I’ve avoided this dish because it sounded too time consuming. I’ll give it a try now. 🙂

  20. You go girl! You tell Julia Child – And by the way I agree with you – Julia’s way in my mind is more of a ‘tian’ v/s ratatouille!

    Yours is spectacular with all the summer bounty.

    Ciao, Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  21. I’m 110% with your opinion.
    I make a very no-fuss delicious ratouille or ‘Chiambotta’ as my ‘Nonna’ used to call it. I do respect Julia Child and all her accomplishments…however, we cooks in our own right got lots of merit too ;o)

    Ciao for now,

  22. Yum! That looks great! I LOVE ratatouille! And it’s much easier to do it this way than having a bunch of little plans (less cleanup, too!).

  23. I like your way better 🙂 Gotta love great farmers markets! Thanks for the post…it looks delightful.

  24. Oh my gosh, this looks AMAZING!!!

  25. I’m with you. Who has the time or the energy to clean so many pans! This looks fantastic. I think, in the end, Julia would be proud.

  26. I’ve never heard of cooking each vegetable separately. Your ingredients look so fresh and delicious.

  27. Thanks for the comment on my blog – I’m loving yours! Do you use Tumblr? I have yet to see very many food bloggers using it… but it looks very similar to my own Tumblr blog! Go Tumblr! And if it’s not Tumblr… it still looks great! 🙂

  28. I really, REALLY need to make ratatouille one of these days. 🙂 Beautifully done!

  29. looks fab and i make it the same way can’t beat fresh veggies like this yum

  30. Hi Katie, Thanks for stopping by my ratatouille recipe! You’re right, this is the more traditional, “French” way of doing it, but hey, I wanted to make something pretty I guess 😉 This looks like a wonderful, cozy dish. I’ll have to try it this way next time. Great job!

  31. […] Easy Ratatouille […]

  32. […] is amazingly versatile.  From ratatouille to chocolate zucchini bread it works in almost everything.  But until my mother-in-law suggested […]

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