As Summer gradually lets go and Fall moves in, I have been thinking of how to put to use the final vegetables I’ve been getting from my garden. A co-worker brought in some eggplant last week. I didn’t grow eggplant this year but definitely have it planned for next year. I began thinking what I could do with it..should I grill it or make eggplant parmesan? I also had some green pepper, zucchini and tomatoes and began looking through my cookbooks for something that would have these ingredients.
I came across a recipe for Ratatouille…you know, like the movie? I had never made Ratatouille before because quite frankly it intimidated me but I decided to be brave and give it a try. I followed a very easy recipe I found in my copy of The Joy of Cooking. Although there is a lot of chopping of vegetables involved the whole process was very simple and the product was delicious. My husband enjoyed it and as it is with most dishes it was even more delicious the next day.
See you Next Month, Meet me in the Kitchen
Ratatouille Provencale Recipe
¼ cup of olive oil
1 medium eggplant, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
1 pound zucchini , cut into 1 inch chunks
2 T. olive oil
1 ½ cups sliced onions
2 large red bell peppers, cut into 1 inch squares
3 garlic cloves finely chopped or 1 ½ t. minced garlic in a jar
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 ½ cups peeled, seeded, chopped fresh tomatoes or one 14 oz. can diced tomatoes drained
½ t dried thyme
1 bay leaf
Basil to taste
Pitted black olives chopped
Heat ¼ oil in skillet or Dutch oven. Add eggplant and zucchini and cook, stirring until golden and tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the vegetables and set aside. Reduce heat to medium. Add 2 T. of olive oil and onions. Cook until onions are slightly softened. Add bell peppers and garlic until vegetables are just tender but not browned, 8 to 12 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add tomatoes, thyme and bay leaf. Reduce heat and cook for 5 minutes. Add the eggplant and zucchini and cook until everything is tender, about 20 minutes more. Taste and adjust seasonings. Stir in basil and chopped olives.
Not only is this a delicious side dish but it is versatile. You can serve it warm or cold. It can be served as a topping to pasta, mashed potatoes or an omelet. You can also put whatever vegetables you would like to change the flavor. I had some mushrooms that I didn’t have any plans for and threw those in as well. Enjoy !!