Whenever I say “Ratatouille”, I always want to say it twice and then the chorus Rock Me Amadeus starts to play in my head.
What? Is that just me? Probably.
So… Ratatouille. Yeah. I’m fairly sure “Ratatouille” is French for “what the hell am I going to do with all these summer vegetables?”
My mom has been making Ratatouille and raving to me about it during recent phone conversations. When she described what went into it, I realized that I had every single one of the ingredients in my overstocked-with-produce fridge. That’s what I call vegetable fate.
A recipe for ratatouille:
2 medium eggplants
1 giant zucchini (that I used half of)
1 medium – large yellow squash
2 small – medium green peppers
1 large red pepper
1 large red onion
Plus garlic, basil, thyme and parsley and the oil of your choice. I’m using coconut oil for cooking these days, mainly because coconut oil whispers sweet nothings in my ear about “athletes” and “beautiful people” whenever I get it out of the cupboard.
I love you too, coconut oil.
First let me say this dish is absolutely not at all what I expected it to be. I don’t know what I was expecting exactly, but I do know it wasn’t a bunch of chopped up vegetables cookin’ together in their own juices.
I think I was picturing a smooth bowl of brownish vegetable mush? That sounds awesome, doesn’t it? It’s a real wonder I haven’t made this sooner.
Did I mention yet there will be a lot of chopping? Just in case I didn’t, let me say that now.
There will be a lot of chopping.
First up, cube your eggplant. The eggplant gets bumped to the head of the class because it’s going to need time to sit while you are busy chopping all the other vegetables.
Personally, I like to hack into an eggplant and then pretend it’s some jerky dog-walking mortal enemy so I can throw salt on his fresh wounds.
Or maybe I salt eggplant to remove some of the bitterness and excess moisture.
Whatever. Your reasons for salting eggplant are up to you.
Cut the onions into rings and saute in oil over medium heat until soft. Here is where I would have added a couple cloves of minced garlic if I’d had any, but alas – I had none. The understudy Garlic Powder was very excited to take over the role of Garlic tonight.
Next up, cube zucchini and throw it in the pot. Cube yellow squash. Into the pot. Add more oil as needed to keep any vegetables from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Dice yuletide (that would be red and green) peppers and – you guessed it! Into the pot.
Tomatoes? Same deal. (Cubed AND de-seeded, thankyouverymuch.)
Put the lid back on the pan between each round of vegetables to help keep in heat and moisture.
The last thing to go in to the mix was the eggplant, rinsed and drained. This would also be where I was suddenly wishing I’d had a bigger pot. Either that or less vegetables.
Less vegetables? Bite your tongue! (And if you break the skin, let me know so I can throw salt on it.) I cut up all those dang vegetables! They’re all going in the pot and they’re all gonna like it!
Add fresh herbs, put the cover on the pot and let the vegetables stew in their own juices for about 20 – 30 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.
And yes, thanks to the magic of condensation it was possible for me to stir them even though they were initially almost too big for their Calphalon britches.
Serve over rice or pasta if you like, or better yet – no grains at all cause that’s the way I roll these days.
The eggplant was absolutely the star of this dish, the texture was great and I loved the way it took on the flavor of the other vegetables too.
Despite all the chopping (oh the chopping) ratatouille was easy to make. It was impressively tasty considering the simplicity of summer vegetables.
Best of all – it helped me free up a bunch of space in my fridge. Amen to that.