With warm weather comes casual al fresco dining so I know how I'm getting my party started, with Jacques Pépin's Ratatouille Dip from his book, Jacques Pépin's Simple and Healthy Cooking. This classic Provençal dish of eggplant, zucchini, peppers and tomatoes flavoured with onions and garlic is a favourite of mine. I've tried several recipes (including Julia Child's with 4 pages of instructions!), stewed it, steamed it and roasted it but this was the first time I made it as a dip.
With ingredients diced smaller than you normally would for this dish, it cooked quickly stove-top, the perfect type of hot weather cooking. The texture was a little more homogeneous than I'm accustomed to - necessary for a dip, I think - but the flavour was good, sweet and savoury, with a little grassy heat from jalapeños and brightness from tomatoes.
For a casual get together, what better way to serve it than with a good homemade bread, Olive Fougasse, a traditional Provençal flatbread from Dorie Greenspan's Around my French Table.
I wonder how everyone else at I Heart Cooking Clubs is starting their party. Visit here to find out.