Summer Garden Ratatoullie

Like many home cooks, I often daydream of going to culinary school to become a true chef.  Of course there are days when cooking is the last thing I feel like doing.  But sometimes I feel truly connected to my food and inspired.  This was one of those days.  I had all this beautiful summer produce that I had labored over in my garden and I wanted to celebrate it.  How better to do that than to make a recipe made famous by none other than Julia Child, who would have turned 100 years old last month.  So I embarked on the famous ratatoullie…I tried to simplify the recipe a little bit to save some time and it still turned out delicious!

Ingredients
1 large gggplant
2 medium zucchinis
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 large bell pepper, thinly sliced (I like yellow, orange or red since they are a little sweeter and higher in vitamins!)
2-3 tomatoes
~3 tablespoons okive oil, split
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon flat leaf parsley, minced
salt & pepper to taste

Directions
Peel the eggplant and cut into slices 1/2 inch thick, 3 inches long and 1 inch wide.  Cut the zucchini into pieces about the same size as the eggplant.  Place in a bowl and toss with salt.  Let stand 30 minutes.  Drain.  Pat dry with a paper towel.

While you wait for the eggplant and zucchini, cook the onions and peppers in 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in a large saute pan, until tender and starting to slightly brown.  Add garlic and parsley and saute an additional minute.  Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cut the tomatoes in half and gently squeeze the seeds and juice out.  Discard seeds and juice.  Slice the pulp into 1/2 inch thick strips and place on top of onions and peppers.  Cover and cook over low heat for about 5 minutes until tomatoes have started to render their juice.  Uncover and raise heat to boil until juice has almost entirely evaporated.  Set aside.

After draining and patting dry, saute eggplant and zucchini in the other 1 1/2 tablespoons oil until tender and slightly browned.

In a casserole dish, place 1/3 tomato mixture on the bottom and place half of the eggplant and zucchini on top.  Continue to layer with tomato mixture and then eggplant and zucchini.  Place casserole into oven and cook at 350 approximately 10 minutes, until juices are bubbling and have mostly evaporated.  Enjoy!

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