Ratatouille is a classic dish from Provence and derives its flavour from the fresh summer vegetables and some are cooked separately to retain their individual flavours. The best results will come from your own garden including eggplants. tomatoes, zucchini, bell peppers to garlic, onions and herbs. If you don’t maintain a garden then get the best you can from the local farmer’s market or reliable grocer.
- 1 lb (1/2 kg) large, or small eggplants, cut into ½-inch (1 cm) chunks
- 3 medium zucchini or yellow squash, seeded, cut in ½-inch (1 cm) chunks
- ¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil
- 1 large sweet onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 4 large ripe red tomatoes, chopped, purré
- 1 red and 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into ½-inch (1 cm) pieces
- 1 tsp (5 ml) fresh thyme leaves
- Freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste
- Large or small pinch chilli flakes or fresh red chilli to taste
- Salt to taste
- 2 tbsp (30 ml) each chopped basil and parsley for garnish
1. Sprinkle cut eggplant with salt and set into a colander for 10 – 15 minutes to drain off the liquid that oozes from the eggplant. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Place eggplant on a bake sheet along with zucchini and toss with 2 tbsp (30 ml) oil. Roast for 20 minutes until lightly brown.
2. In large saucepan, heat remaining oil and sauté onions slowly until tender, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, bell peppers, tomatoes, thyme and chilli flakes; continue to cook another 20 minute to thicken.
3. Stir in the eggplant and zucchini and cook for 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt.
4. To serve sprinkle on the chopped basil and parsley