This time of year, at least where I live, the market is simply overflowing with fresh veggies. While the fruits seem to come in a relatively orderly sequence, one replacing another, the vegetables apparently just multiply, more kinds, more flavors, more colors, every week until the frost.
So, a perfect time to make something delicious out of them! Something full & rich with the flavors of all the late summer bounty.
Makes enough to feed 4 as a main course
Chop into large chunks (see the next post):
2 medium summer squash; zucchini, crookneck, etc.
2 smallish bell peppers; red, orange, yellow or purple
1 medium yellow onion
4 small or two larger eggplants
1 mildly spicy chile (optional but really good) If your chile happens to be already roasted, add it with the tomatoes. Otherwise, keep it with the peppers, squash and onion.
This many veggies will not fit in my largest skillet in anywhere close to a single layer, meaning I know they won’t all brown on the edges. So, I put the chopped eggplant on a baking sheet and toss with a little olive oil, and roast it in the oven at 375° F until soft and slightly browned, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, chop the other veggies and put them in a large heavy skillet on high, with more olive oil, enough to keep them from sticking. Stir occasionally, letting the surfaces of the vegetables get a nice medium brown.
While the veggies are cooking in the skillet, also chop:
4 -5 large tomatoes chopped roughly, or a little more than a pint of small ones cut in half
3-4 cloves of minced garlic
When the veggies in the skillet are just about browned, add the eggplant to them. Make a clear space in the center of the skillet, add a drizzle of olive oil, and put the garlic in it. When the garlic just starts to color, mix it in with the rest of the veggies, and add the tomatoes. Turn the heat down and cook until the tomatoes start to collapse.
That’s it! Serve with a generous portion of fresh basil (fresh oregano is also nice, although I like basil best), and a few grinds of black pepper on top. You can salt to taste as well.
This recipe is delicious with risotto, or any cooked grain with a little cheese mixed in, or just with bread and cheese for lunch.
I’m so excited that you suggested chili to be added to the ratatouille! I have grown eggplant for the first time ever and have an abundance. Do you happen to know when to pick the little buggers?
Hmm, I’ve unfortunately never grown my own eggplant so I’m not quite sure. When I get them from other farmers, I look for ones that are full and plump, with smooth glossy skins. I think the ones I avoid are more from being too long off the vine than not enough on, they tend to be a little more shriveled and less with that bright vegetable glow of health.
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