The perfect recipe to enjoy fresh summer vegetables and herbs; it can be served half a dozen different ways.
Yield: 6-8 servings
Time: 1¼ hours
- several platters or plates
- large skillet or Dutch oven with cover
- wooden spoon
- 1 pound eggplant
- 3 T olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 medium onions, roughly chopped
- 3 T fresh basil, chopped
- 3 T fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 t oregano
- ½ t rosemary
- ½ t thyme
- 1 pound zucchini, cubed
- 2 bell peppers, any color(s), seeded and chopped or sliced
- 2 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
- black pepper
Slice the eggplant, sprinkle both sides of each piece generously with salt, and lay out on platters or plates for 45 minutes.*
Heat olive oil over medium heat, add garlic and onion, and sauté for 5 minutes.
Rinse the salt from the eggplant, pat dry, and cube. Add to onions along with 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.
* 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. Generally speaking, 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!