Tuesday, August 13, 2013


You'll need a few of these...
This traditional Provencal dish uses vegetables and herbs at the height of their season, and treats them with the respect they deserve.  As an accompaniment, ratatouille complements just about anything, and it's also substantial enough to serve as a great vegetarian main dish.  Add some crusty bread and cheese and an ear of local sweet corn, and you have a terrific summer meal.
...and a few of these...

adapted from The Silver Palate Cookbook by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins

serves 12, or 4 people 3 times (with some help from the freezer!)

2 cups olive oil
4 small eggplants (about 4 lbs), trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 teaspoons salt
2-3 onions (about 1 1/2 lbs), coarsely chopped
7 medium-sized summer squash (about 3 lbs), cut into 1-inch chunks
...and a pile of these.
4 medium-sized green and/or colored peppers, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
4 lbs Roma tomatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 6-oz can tomato paste
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil 
1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano 
(note: you can substitute 2 Tablespoons dried for any of these herbs if fresh is not available)
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a large roasting pan or casserole with aluminum foil and pour in 1 cup of the olive oil.  Add the eggplant, sprinkle with the salt, and toss well.  Cover the pan tightly with foil and bake until the eggplant is done but not mushy, about 30-35 minutes.  Uncover and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet or two smaller skillets, heat the remaining oil.  Saute the onions, zucchini, peppers, and garlic over medium heat until wilted and slightly colored, about 20 minutes.  

Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, herbs, and a few grinds of black pepper.  Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add eggplant mixture and simmer for another ten minutes.  Taste and correct seasoning. Serve hot or at room temperature.

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