Slice the eggplants and spread out them on a workplan, sprinkle with coarse salt and place them in a large sieve. Put on top of the eggplants a small dish and a weight on it to make some pressure. Let the eggplants drain during 1 hour and a half.
Prepare the tomatoe purée : in a large pan with edges, heat 1/10 liter (half a cup) of olive oil and pour the chopped onions. Let them cook during 3 minutes and then add the peeled tomatoes cut in big pieces, garlic, chopped basil leaves, thyme, sugar, table salt and black pepper. Let it slowly cook during 30 minutes or more.
Then, heat 2 frying pans with some olive oil. In the first one, pour the green peppers, thinly sliced and free of their seeds. In the second one, pour the eggplant slices after you have carefully dried them. Season both preparations.
When both green peppers and eggplants are well browned, put them in a large sieve and repeat the same with the zucchinis (quicker cooking).
Pour your tomatoe purée in the pan, add the vinegar and the capers, let them cook during 5 minutes, then add all the browned vegetables and the olives and continue the cooking uncovered during 15 minutes. Stir often.
Finetune the seasoning. You now only need to take the exceeding oil on the top off the ratatouille with a small ladle and your 'Nice' style ratatouille is ready.
You can eat it hot or cold. If you eat it with a roasted lamb leg (from the southern French Alps), drinking a white wine from Cassis (note of the translator : wine area close to Marseille), you are not far from smelling the fragances of the old flower market of Nice...
(*) in order to peel the fresh tomatoes, make a cross with a sharp knife on the round part of them and pour them during a few seconds in boiling water, then in chilled water
credits photo : Patrick Asfaux© A.F.Touch