The farmer’s market is a beautiful place during high summer. You can find all the ingredients to make one of my favorite summer dishes: ratatouille. This is literally French home cooking at its best. Fresh veg, fresh herbs, olive oil, a little heat, and most important of all… lot’s of patience!
If you don’t have all the ingredients, that’s okay. The only essential ingredients are the eggplant, onions, garlic, and olive oil.
1/4 pint of olive oil (and possibly more, be generous)
2 eggplants, diced
1 red pepper, sliced
1 green pepper, sliced
2 medium-sized zucchinis, sliced
1 large onion, finely sliced
4 cloves of garlic
3 tomatoes, peeled and diced
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, minced
4 springs of lemon thyme, or more to your tasting, minced
Pinch of red chili flakes (not technically French but I like the taste)
Salt and pepper
- Heat half the olive oil in a large cast iron pan. Add the eggplant and sprinkle with salt. Gently fry until tender and lightly caramelized. The secret to an amazing ratatouille is time and generous amounts of olive oil. Transfer the eggplant to a large bowl carefully leaving the drippings and left over olive oil in the pan.
- Add a little more olive oil and add both the red and green peppers. Also add a pinch of red chili flakes. Fry gently until the peppers are soft and lightly caramelized. Transfer to the bowl containing the eggplant.
- Add a little more olive oil to the cast iron pan. See the pattern? This time gently fry the zucchini until soft and lightly gilded. Transfer to the eggplant.
- Now gently fry the onions and garlic until lightly caramelized. Transfer to the eggplant.
- Finally, fry the tomatoes until soft and collapsed. This time transfer the eggplant, peppers, zucchini, onion, and garlic to the cast iron pan with the tomatoes.
- Add the minced thyme and rosemary, and season with salt and pepper.
- Gently cook, bubble, for about 5 minutes.
- Serve at room temperature.
Ratatouille is excellent served warm, room temperature, and even cold. You can eat it straight or you can even use it to stuff a tart, as a topping for pasta, or to dress a pizza. One of my favorite ways to eat it is at room temperature topped with a fried egg and served with a slice of sour dough bread. It’s versatile and highly nutritious.
Enjoy! Please leave your comments below. How do you like your ratatouille?