Friday, July 25, 2008

Ratatouille

Ratatouille might just be the perfect summer food.

Composed of some of summer's best offerings — eggplant, tomatoes, onions, peppers, zucchini, garlic, and herbs — it originated in Provence, France. The vegetables used can vary depending on the cook’s preferences and what's available. The one constant in making ratatouille is that the vegetables are simmered in olive oil.

Ratatouille it makes a nice topping for any grain with couscous, pasta, or — what I ate last night — polenta my favorite options. It's best to make extra, because the leftovers get even better. I love to eat it on crusty bread or lunch the next day.

Yesterday I skipped the peppers and added mushrooms instead. (Mainly because I had mushrooms in the house, but no pepper.) I like to make ratatouille with tons and tons of basil, but my basil plant is looking a little puny these days. It's also yummy with thyme or oregano.

This recipe serves two with some leftovers.

1 medium eggplant
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
1 zucchini
12 mushrooms
1/4 cut balsamic vinegar
1 pound tomatoes
1/2 cup basil
1/4 cup parsley
Salt and pepper

Cut eggplant into cubes, salt, and place in a calendar over a bowl for one hour. Rinse off excess salt, drain, and dry in a clean dishtowel. (See my post about salting eggplant for more details.)

Slice onions and sauté in one tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Finely mice garlic and add to the pan. Add eggplant. Cut zucchini into cubes approximately the same size as the eggplant. Add to the pan. Cut mushrooms into quarters and add to the pan.

When all of the ingredients are slightly browned, add vinegar. Scrape all of the brown bits from the bottom of the pan and allow the liquid to evaporate. Add tomatoes and cook over medium high heat for two minutes. Reduce heat and add the remaining olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 20 minutes or until all of the vegetables are soft. Rough chop the herbs and add to mixture at three minutes before removing from the heat.

2 comments:

We Are Never Full said...

Just found your site! It's almost a "great minds think alike" moment for me b/c only about 20 minutes ago my husband was saying how we need to do a ratatouille b/c it just screams summertime! Wonderful dish...

Erin said...

Thanks for visiting. Let me know how your ratatouille turns out.