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The perfect recipe to enjoy fresh summer vegetables and herbs; it can be served half a dozen different ways.
|Directions||Slice the eggplant, sprinkle both sides of each piece generously with salt, and lay out on platters or plates. After 45 minutes,* rinse off the salt, pat dry, and cube.
Heat olive oil over medium heat, add garlic and onion, and sauté for 5 minutes.
Add eggplant and herbs, stir well, and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes, until eggplant is tender.
Stir in zucchini, bell peppers, tomatoes, and black pepper. Cover and simmer for another 10 minutes, until zucchini and peppers are cooked.
|Notes||* Salting eggplant removes the bitter flavor, but you have to be careful. If you leave the salt on for too long, it will permeate the eggplant and – unless you’re wild about salt – ruin the ratatouille. The general rule of thumb is that smaller eggplants are less bitter, so very small ones only need 30 minutes or so of salting, while very large ones may take up to an hour. The eggplant is ready when several tablespoons of tan-colored liquid have oozed out of each slice.
This recipe is quite versatile. It can be served hot, warm, or cold. It can stand alone as a stew; cover pasta, rice, polenta, mashed potatoes, or toast; or fill a crêpe or sandwich. I once tried it with some leftover pesto – delicious!
The ingredients are also pretty flexible – just be sure that they are fresh!
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Laura K. Lawless
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