Provence Pistou and Ratatouille, Culinary Vacation Recipe
Provence markets provide bags of herbs de Provence and a good selection of fresh vegetables especially during June when much greenhouse produce comes fresh to markets..
You can serve Camargue sea salt Provence style: at the table for an additional flavoring at the discretion of each guest.
Pistou is the French version of Italian Pesto and varies little except that regional versions of pesto near the French border with Italy will include pine nuts while pistou will not.
You can make Pistou if you have a food processor. You can make it with a hand grinder, mortar and pestle and lots of patience.
Place three cloves of garlic in the grinder and make a puree by adding olive oil to the mix.
Next add a cup of fresh basil leaves and a tablespoon of grated or chunked Parmesan cheese. As the mix blends, add olive oil if needed to retain the liquid paste consistency. Cut back or add garlic and cheese to taste.
Serve the Pistou at room temperature on thinly sliced and toasted French bread.
Another way to serve is to slice French bread thinly and place in a baking tray. Place the tray beneath the broiler until the bread browns. Remove the pan and turn the breads over. Cover each round of bread with a layer of pistou. Place the pan back under the broiler to slightly toast the pistou. Serve warm.
Chop and roughly cube to bite sized pieces
Tomato 1-1.5 kilogram
Eggplant 3-4 small
Zucchini 3-4 small
clean and cut into strips
Peppers 3 green or red
and rough chop Onion 2-4
Dice Garlic 4-6
Herbs de Provence
Black Pepper pinch
Camargue sea salt served at the table
Mireille Johnston, in her book “Cuisine de Soleil” (Amazon,) recommended the traditional method of cooking each ingredient, eggplant, zucchini, Peppers, and onions in Olive oil in separate pans. This may be too much for modern cooks pressed for time.
An alternate way is to layer the ingredients except the tomatoes in a large pan with a skim of olive oil and cover the pan. Leave the vegetables layered as they stem in their own juices. Cook the tomatoes in a separate pan and add the garlic and herb mix. Simmer to a thick sauce.
Once the vegetable are cooked to a softness, add the tomato herb mix to the large pan and simmer for ten minutes, mixing all together.
This way the process can be done in one large pan and one small one. The process will take about half to one hour of slow simmering. Muriel’s method would retain the individual tastes of each ingredient and is the best way to cook the vegetables but can be labor intensive as she recommended the cooking of the pepper, eggplant, tomato, and zucchini in olive oil separately, setting each aside, and then combining with the tomato herb sauce in a large pan for slow cooking to finish.
Note: small eggplant and zucchini do not need peeling, larger ones might benefit from loosing their tougher skins
Remove the tomato skin to your preference
by boiling briefly and then letting cool
Try these Provence Pistou and Ratatouille Recipes inspired by a Provence Cooking Vacation. The culinary Vacation from a villa rental, vacation rental, or holiday rental should include a full kitchen so that cooking with olive oil, wine, and the herbs of Provence, Thyme, Basil, Rosemary can be practiced.
Provence Pistou and Ratatouille recipes inspired by a Provence Culinary Vacation from a villa rental that included a full kitchen for cooking with olive oil,wine,and herbs Provence.
Where is Provence
Provence France Hotels
Provence Sightseeing, Biking
Aix-en-Provence, Avignon, Arles
Provence Cooking Vacation
Reach Provence From Paris
International flights serve Paris, Marseilles, Local flights reach Nimes and Avignon.
TGV Fast trains serve Avignon, Aix, Nimes, and Marseilles from Paris. Local trains serve Arles
Rental cars are available at CDG and at the TGV Stations in Paris, Avignon, Marseilles, and Nimes. Available also in Arles.
AutoEurope is available in Avignon at the TGV train station.