Ratatouille aperitif recipe


In Paris, the first signs of sunshine at the end of the winter come via the markets. Even if it’s still gray and cold, brightly colored produce from the south of France starts to appear. The pungent new-season garlic, the fat globe artichokes, and the deep purple eggplants are ideal served as an aperitif with some cheese and charcuterie, tossed with pasta, or on top of a pizza.

  • Yield: 5 cups
  • Preparation Time: 40 Minutes


  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 1 zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 1 eggplant, thinly sliced
  • Scant 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon juice and zest
  • 2 globe artichokes
  • 1⅓ cups white wine vinegar
  • Salt
  • 2 heads of garlic, cloves separated and peeled
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 6 fresh basil leaves
How to Make It
  1. Preheat the broiler. Arrange both bell peppers on a parchmentlined baking sheet and place under the broiler. Turn every so often until they’re blackened all over. Remove from the oven and seal tightly in a bag until cool. Remove the skin and tear the flesh into strips, discarding the seeds and core.
  2. Heat a grill pan over high heat. Coat the zucchini and eggplant slices with some of the olive oil. Arrange on the pan (don’t crowd the pan; cook them in batches) and sear until they have brown grill marks. Flip and sear the other side. Set aside.
  3. Fill a large bowl with water and add the lemon juice. Trim the tips of the artichoke leaves, and trim the stalk. Peel away the dark outer layers of the stalk and the toughest outer leaves. Quarter, then scoop out and discard the hairy choke. Place the artichoke quarters in the lemon water until ready to use.
  4. In a large saucepan over high heat, bring 1½ qt water to a boil with ¾ cup of the vinegar and a pinch of salt. Add the artichoke quarters and the garlic. Boil for 5 minutes, until the leaves are tender. Drain and place the artichokes and garlic on a clean tea towel.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together the oregano, the remaining olive oil and vinegar, the sugar, and a pinch of salt. Fill the sterilized jar halfway with layers of the vegetables, the lemon zest, and the basil. Top with the oil mixture and use a chopstick to release any trapped air. Repeat until everything is used up. (The vegetables should be submerged; if not, top off with a little more olive oil.) Marinate for at least 3 days. Store in a cool dark space for up to 2 months.

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